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Medical negligence lawyer sets out the role artificial intelligence can play in reducing prostate cancer deaths

Despite prostate cancer being the most common cancer in men in the UK, there's currently no screening programme for the disease. Sadly, this means that men who develop prostate cancer usually display no symptoms until the cancer has grown large, at which point it may be more difficult to treat. 

The statistics are worrying. In the UK, an estimated 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, with 12,000 dying from the disease. 

The symptoms of prostate cancer and how is it diagnosed? 

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland, which is located at the base of the bladder. 

The most common symptoms to look out for include: 

  • Needing to pee more frequently, often during the night.
  • Needing to rush to the toilet.
  • Difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)
  • Straining or taking a long time while peeing.
  • Weak flow.
  • Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully.
  • Blood in urine or blood in semen.

Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed using blood tests, MRI scans and biopsies. 

The role of AI in diagnosing prostate cancer 

Lucida Medical, a spin-off company from the University of Cambridge, has developed artificial intelligence (AI) based software to help in the detection of prostate cancer lesions from MRI scans. 

According to its website, the system is designed to improve a radiologist’s interpretation of a prostate MRI in three ways: 

  • Improve patient selection / prioritisation for biopsy, which could help to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies performed and streamline waiting lists. 
  • Improve identification of targets for biopsy, ensuring that all areas of suspicion are targeted for biopsy to help reduce underdiagnosis. 
  • Provide high quality segmentations, to support visualisation, analysis and biopsy targeting. 

It's hoped that the use of AI in MRI analysis will lead to a greater accuracy and efficiency of prostate cancer detection, in turn leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment. It could also help to reduce the numbers of prostate cancer-free men who undergo unnecessary biopsies, helping to save NHS costs and cutting waiting lists. 

This is a really positive development and is one that will hopefully reduce the high number of deaths as a result of prostate cancer each year. 

Legal support for those affected by prostate cancer 

As a medical negligence lawyer, I’ve supported many clients who have experienced a delay in receiving a cancer diagnosis and too often see the devastating impact that this has on their prognosis and treatment options.

If you believe that you or a loved one haven’t received appropriate treatment or there has been a delay in diagnosis, then you can speak to a specialist solicitor. They can advise you on whether you may have a legal claim for compensation.

At Irwin Mitchell we've helped many clients claim compensation after suffering from cases of prostate cancer misdiagnosis by GPs and other medical professionals. Some of the most common misdiagnoses of prostate cancer include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Enlargement of the prostate
  • Prostatitis

However, a legal claim doesn’t just provide answers. Compensation can help people access the specialist treatment and therapies they may require to either combat the disease or as a consequence of cancer.

Irwin Mitchell's Client Support Team help support patients and families affected by cancer. It provides support not just with the legal issues, but also with matters relating to employment, wills, and benefits as well as family issues.

More information on prostate cancer available

We also work with charities such as Orchid, to help raise awareness of prostate cancer and encourage those with symptoms to seek early medical advice. 

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in supporting patients and families affected by a delay in receiving a cancer diagnosis at our dedicated cancer claims section.