A new way to test for prostate cancer that is being pioneered at University of California, Los Angeles, may save many men from unnecessary treatment and save lives.
Dr. Leonard Marks has been using the new technique, which combines ultrasound and MRI imaging to improve the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis.
"Half of men have low-risk prostate cancers that don’t bother them in their life," Marks told NBC4’s Dr. Bruce Hensel.
Some men with low-risk prostate cancers do not need treatment and can be watched and monitored.
When conventional tests were not precise, it wasn't clear to doctors who should be monitored and who should be treated more aggressively.
With Marks' test, an MRI is done before a biopsy, and an ultrasound is added during the procedure.
"We toggle back and forth on the computer and that tells exactly where to put the needle," Marks said.
Michael Lewis, who had a low-risk prostate cancer a few years ago, was one of the first to get the new test.
The test found his tumor had grown.
"Now we will call watchful waiting over, and treat it," Lewis said.
While that may sound like worrisome news, the fact is, it could make a major difference for many men.
"I’m delighted we caught it early to treat it," Lewis said.