When doctors at the Vancouver Prostate Centre found a tumour in Tom Stevens’ prostate, the father of three didn’t want to take any chances.
“All it takes is one cancer cell to spread through your body – I couldn’t take that chance,” Tom says. “Thankfully, I had the MRI and then I had the targeted biopsy and they did surgery on me to remove the prostate in March of 2015. And so as of today, which is May of 2017, I’m cancer free.”
The cancer was detected early thanks to the innovative fusion biopsy machine, which can pinpoint the area of the prostate to take the biopsy from, resulting in more effective detection and fewer painful biopsies for the patient.
“Having a biopsy is not fun,” Tom explains. “It’s basically using your prostate as a pin cushion, trying to go into various spots. That is not a great procedure. Having two or three or four biopsies while they’re looking for the cancer is no way to treat this disease.
“The fusion biopsy takes an MRI of the prostate and overlays it onto an ultrasound,” explains Dr. Peter Black, a senior research scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. “We can use the ultrasound image to identify exactly where the tumour is or where we think the tumour is.”
The Vancouver Prostate Centre is currently looking for donations to help buy a fusion biopsy machine, preventing suffering for patients, like Tom, down the road.
“We’re asking for the fusion technology, which integrates existing capabilities that are already uniquely here,” says Dr. Martin Gleave, executive director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre. “It will help men, immediately, with image-guided diagnostics at a more precise level. The ultimate goal is to increase cure rates and to minimize suffering and prolong survival in men with cancer.”