We, the undersigned call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to act now and make high-quality, multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) before biopsy scans available to all eligible men across Wales who have a suspicion of prostate cancer.
Why is this petition needed?
Prostate cancer can be difficult to diagnose. For years, men have had biopsies that are invasive and painful. Sometimes they can lead to serious infections – we only want men to have a biopsy if it is needed.
If a biopsy is carried out before an mpMRI this involves using a series of needles that randomly sample tissue from the prostate, to see whether there are any cancerous cells. The problem with these techniques is there are gaps between the needles, so sometimes significant cancers can be missed if that section of tissue isn't sampled. A biopsy can lead to false positives, where clinically insignificant cancer is diagnosed, this can lead to unnecessary overtreatment.
mpMRI scans can be used with other tests to improve the number of aggressive prostate cancers being caught earlier. If the mpMRI is carried out to a sufficient standard it's also been proven to safely reduce the number of men who may have biopsies unnecessarily, by ruling them out of having prostate cancer at an earlier stage.
What is mpMRI?
mpMRI means multi-parametric MRI. This combines up to three different types of scan for a clearer picture of what's going on in the prostate. Also, an injection of a dye means that scan images can be enhanced making it clearer to see if cancer is present or not. This is different to a standard MRI scan which creates an image of an internal organ, these are rarely clear enough to confidently diagnose early prostate cancer.
What is happening in Wales?
There are 7 Health Boards in Wales, mpMRI before biopsy is being provided in 3 Health Boards. Only one board is doing it to a standard high enough to safely rule men out of biopsy. This means men in 4 Health Boards do not have access to mpMRI as a diagnostic test, unless they pay more than £900 to have it done privately.
Find more information about mpMRI and biopsies here: https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/prostate-tests/introduction-to-prostate-tests