A blood test is now available in Britain that can help detect more than 90 percent of prostate cancer cases.
Currently, men who visit their GP with symptoms, such as difficulty urinating, have a test with an accuracy of around 55 per cent.
This means thousands of men are wrongly told they may have prostate cancer and sent for a painful biopsy or unnecessary scan.
The new test, available privately, can detect signs of cancer by identifying abnormalities in gene activity. Patients must fill out a form with their doctor and take a blood sample, which will be sent to a laboratory in the US for analysis.
Early trials of the Prostate Screening EpiSwitch found that, when used in conjunction with the standard test, it detected 94 percent of cases.
Currently, men who visit their GP with symptoms, such as problems urinating, have a test with an accuracy of around 55 per cent (file photo)
The test looks for changes in immune cells in the blood, which signal changes in gene activity seen in the early stages of cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, affecting one in eight. But delays in diagnosis mean that around 12,000 men each year do not discover they have it until the disease has already spread.
This is partly because there is no single, reliable test, and standard prostate-specific antigen tests are notorious for giving both false positives and negatives. The PSE test took a decade to create with experts from Oxford BioDynamics working alongside Imperial College London, the University of East Anglia, Imperial College NHS Trust and experts from across the UK.
Mathias Winkler, a urologist and consultant surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital and Imperial College London, said the test provides “unprecedented accuracy”.
It is not yet available on the NHS and would need to be tested on a wide range of men to ensure it is accurate, before regulators can consider it.
The Mail has fought for almost 25 years to raise awareness of prostate cancer and its treatments.