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Prostate biopsies: rapid results in 72 hours

March 31, 2011

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A new clinic at Sunnybrook is the first in Canada to provide rapid biopsy results for prostate cancer within 72 hours compared to the standard two to three weeks, to let men know sooner, and to help those who are diagnosed to take charge quickly with treatment options especially if there is aggressive disease.

"Our goal is to help support men by giving them answers quickly and more accurately. We provide rapid results on biopsies in collaboration with our urology-dedicated pathologists, and the need for biopsy is based on a better, proven individual risk assessment tool also developed here," says Dr. Robert Nam, urologic oncologist and head, Genitourinary Cancer Care Team, Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre.

When men first arrive at the clinic, their oncologist assesses their risk for prostate cancer and whether a biopsy is needed. The oncologists use the Sunnybrook Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator, a checklist that better determines within minutes individual risk, and especially risk for aggressive disease among men with low PSA (prostate specific antigen). The tool ‘saves' men from unnecessary biopsies and identifies those who may need biopsies due to missed indications from the PSA test.

If prostate cancer is identified, patients receive immediate supportive and comprehensive counseling on the spectrum of treatments available including surgery, radiation or active surveillance. If biopsy results are negative, the patient avoids enduring two to three weeks of uncertainty.

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