RM Partners, hosted by The Royal Marsden Foundation Trust, in collaboration with Imperial College Healthcare Trust, St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust – Rapid Access to Prostate Imaging and Diagnosis (RAPID) Project

More men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer than ever before and yet it is the third biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Standard practice has been for transrectal biopsies – intended to confirm the presence of prostate cancer – to be performed without an MRI scan having taken place. This can lead to significant cancers being missed, insignificant cancers being identified that require no treatment, and a risk of sepsis.

Trials have, therefore, recommended that MRI scans should always be used before a biopsy. At RM Partners – the cancer alliance across north west and south west London – there was a desire to ensure this pathway was consistently used for men with suspected prostate cancer, as well as to cut waiting times for diagnosis.

And so the Rapid Access to Prostate Imaging and Diagnosis (RAPID) pathway was introduced across three west London hospitals. With RAPID, men with suspected prostate cancer have an MRI pre-biopsy – allowing one third to be discharged the same day. If a biopsy is ultimately required, it is an image-fusion biopsy through the skin rather than the rectum. This precise technique overlays 3D-MRI with live ultrasound images to target suspicious areas.

Almost 85 per cent of men are now informed of their diagnosis within 28 days. Before the pathway was introduced, none were informed within this time. And the number of days from a diagnosis of prostate cancer to treatment has fallen by an average of 10 days.

The approach is now being adopted within other centres and regions.

Read a detailed case study about this project at HSJ Solutions


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