Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men. In the Yukon, men with elevated PSA tests who are suspected for prostate cancer are currently referred to a Urologist in BC or Alberta for a prostate biopsy. Up to half of these men ultimately do not have prostate cancer and up to 90% have clinically insignificant prostate cancer, resulting in substantial travel and healthcare costs. In this project, we will utilize a recently developed blood test called EV-FPS to assess whether it could be used to help select patients more effectively for prostate biopsy. This should provide more reliable information about how dangerous a patient’s cancer is so that resources are allocated to those who most need it.
Impact on prostate cancer patients:
The potential impact is considerable; Many men in the Yukon are forced to travel long distances to obtain a prostate biopsy even though the majority are negative or detect clinically insignificant cancers. Successful implementation could eventually eliminate up to 600,000 unnecessary biopsies, 24,000 hospitalizations and up to 50% of unnecessary treatments for prostate cancer in North America alone. Beyond an estimated cost savings to the healthcare system of more than $1.4B per year, this will have a dramatic impact on the healthcare experience and quality of life for men.