A Canadian first: Innovative biopsy procedure for prostate cancer

A Canadian first: Innovative biopsy procedure for prostate cancer

North York General Hospital (NYGH) has recently started using a new biopsy procedure to test for prostate cancer that significantly reduces the chance of developing an infection. 

Called a transperineal biopsy (TP), it significantly reduces the risk of serious infection compared to transrectal prostate biopsy because the skin of the perineum can be easily disinfected (the perineum is located between the scrotum and anus).

North York General Hospital (NYGH) has recently started using a new biopsy procedure to test for prostate cancer that significantly reduces the chance of developing an infection.

The Gale and Graham Wright Prostate Centre at NYGH's Branson Ambulatory Care Centre is the only place in Canada using the TP method. There are considerable patient and health care system benefits, including:

  • Improved sampling: All areas of the prostate are accessible through the perineum resulting in a higher number of tissue samples that can be tested.
  • Significant decrease in post-procedure infection rates
    • World-wide, transrectal prostate biopsies cause serious infection in 5% to 10% of patients.
    • TP prostate biopsies' infection rate post-procedure is less than 1 in 10,000 cases or less than 0.01.   
  • Reduced emergency department visits and admissions to hospital
    • Infections from transrectal prostate biopsies that develop in patients post-procedure are caused by antibiotic resistant e-coli bacteria found in the rectum.
      E. coli bacteria can only be treated by a third-line antibiotic that is provided intravenously.
    • If not treated in time, this type of infection can result in hospitalization and in a small number of cases, death.
    • Dr. Stanley Flax, Urologist, North York General Hospital

Watch Dr. Stanley Flax, NYGH Urologist, discuss the lower rates of infection and how the procedure works with CTV News Toronto's health reporter Pauline Chan.

Gale and Graham Wright Prostate Centre

North York General Hospital's Gale and Graham Wright Prostate Centre opened in 2007 and was the first rapid access cancer diagnostic program of its kind in Ontario. In 2003, the median wait from suspicion to diagnosis of prostate cancer could be as long as 53 days. Today, the  average wait time at the Gale and Graham Wright Prostate Centre is approximately one month.

The centre provides an interdisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment based on the latest surgical, radiation, chemotherapy treatments and clinical trials in partnership with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of The Pulse.

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