Infection rates starting to drive changes to processes, frequency of prostate biopsies?

A story posted yesterday on the Bloomberg News web site suggests that risk associated with severe infections caused by prostate biopsies may be starting to change how urologists carry out prostate biopsies, and even whether to do them in many cases.

There is no indication that this story is associated with any newly published research, but it quotes numerous urologists who clearly believe that there is an increasing problem — particularly because of the rise in risk of sepsis observed in some countries (like Canada and Asutralia) in recent years.

If urologists really do start to look seriously at whether we need to find other ways to determine whether biopsies are necessary in specific patients, this may have profound consequences for the processes (and the costs) associated with the diagnosis of prostate cancer and the monitoring of men on active surveillance protocols.

At some U.S.-based centers, such as the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, biopsy protocols already require all patients to have a rectal swab prior to biopsy so as to be able to “make better informed choices about what antibiotics to use” to prevent infections. This is a relatively low-cost intervention, but it may delay the time until a patient can actually get a biopsy carried out.

One Response

  1. I love the choice of words by Dr. Gettman and the title to the article’s section

    “‘Barbaric’ Procedure

    “Given the recent spike in infection complications after prostate biopsy, the ideal method to diagnose prostate cancer must be pondered,” Matthew Gettman, professor of urology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, wrote in an editorial in the journal European Urology last May.

    “Despite local anesthetics, the whole procedure is barbaric, and it is surprising that the issue of infection has not come to light years ago.”

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