Good news, guys: You can avoid that biopsy!
It's not just one of the most uncomfortable tests a guy can get.
It's also dangerous... and often completely unnecessary.
Now, the latest research finds that many men may be able to completely avoid the dreaded prostate biopsy.
No stress. No needle. No risk.
And most importantly, NO CANCER!
An MRI test can often do more to sort out who's at risk than a biopsy ever will, and that could mean that many men will never need the needles... and never have to live through the anguish of a false cancer diagnosis.
If you're at risk... if your doc is about to send you out for a biopsy... this new study could be just the news you've been waiting for.
The research focuses specifically on men with very high PSA scores who would normally be sent out for biopsies pretty much automatically.
But in this study, some of the men were sent off for an MRI first, which in many cases ruled out cancer.
More than 1 in 4 men were completely cleared. They DIDN'T need the biopsy.
It's not a foolproof system, and clearly some men will need biopsies anyway.
But cutting down by even this amount would be a major victory, because biopsies themselves aren't harmless procedures.
In one study, 94 percent of men called them "painful," which is no surprise given that a needle goes in you-know-where and then has to poke a few holes to pull out some samples. (Don't do a Google search for picture of that needle -- you don't even want to know what it looks like.)
That pain lasts for days, sometimes weeks -- and that's not the worst of it.
Because of where it's going, inside a part of the body that's not exactly known for being clean, there's a risk of moving bacteria around, sending it into places that it shouldn't go and causing an infection.
Some men end up hospitalized after their biopsies because of these infections.
Fewer biopsies, with those remaining concentrated on those who need it most, will cut down on both the pain and infection risk.
But this new approach also means something else.
The researchers say that it can also help cut down on detecting -- and treating -- harmless cancers, as it's better at sorting out the rarer high-risk cancers that may really need treatment.
While some docs have already been using MRIs for prostate cancer and other forms of the disease, it might be some time before the practice becomes standard.
For now, that means that you may have to take action on your own: If you're at risk for cancer or have a warning sign that a doc wants to check out, ask if an MRI might be a better option for you.