biopsy

  1. Can you SKIP that prostate biopsy? (You might be surprised…)

    Can you SKIP that prostate biopsy? (You might be surprised…)

    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.

  2. Prostate biopsies double your infection risk

    Imagine fighting for your life after a cancer scare... only to find out you didn't even have cancer in the first place.

    Well, imagine no more: If you're a man getting a prostate biopsy, you're putting your life on the line -- because a new study finds the biopsy itself can double your risk of a life-threatening infection in the month after the procedure.

    Researchers compared data on 17,472 older men who had prostate biopsies to that of 134,977 who did not, and found that 6.9 percent of the men who underwent the procedure were hospitalized in the 30 days afterward -- versus just 2.9 percent of the un-biopsied.

    They also wrote in the Journal of Urology that biopsy victims suffered 2.3 times the infection rate of men who kept their prostates away from the pokers.

    Adding insult to infection risk, the median age of men in the study was 73 -- or what even many mainstream docs will admit is well past the age of prostate worry.

    The simple truth is that the cancer won't hurt most older men (or even younger ones... but that's a topic for another day) -- but the infections caused by the biopsies can be positively deadly, and it's not hard to see why: The rectum is a germ highway.

    Fortunately, the traffic is usually one-way, so the bacteria never have a chance to get inside your body. That only happens when a sharp instrument -- like, say, a biopsy needle -- works its way through and pokes a few holes here and there.

    Suddenly, the traffic isn't one-way anymore -- and the bacteria get a free ride right into your bloodstream.

    One study earlier this year found that 2 percent of prostate biopsy patients battle sepsis, a potentially deadly infection of the blood. Another study found that nine out of every 10,000 biopsy patients die of infection in the month after.

    Here's the cruelest part of that last number: These were all men who didn't even have the prostate cancer that the biopsy was supposed to detect... dead.

    But even if they did have cancer, they never needed to fight and lose this infection battle -- because as I told you earlier, prostate cancer is simply not the killer it's been made out to be... especially for older men like the ones in this study.

    It's one case where you're better off not knowing -- because sometimes, what you don't know really won't hurt you.

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