A PIONEERING new biopsy procedure is being offered at Airedale Hospital for men with suspected prostate cancer.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust is among the first in the north of England to provide a so-called transperineal prostate biopsy, under local anaesthetic, to investigate for the disease.

The new procedure greatly reduces the risk of infection and, using a Precision Point system, enables a more extensive and accurate biopsy of the prostate gland to be carried out.

Being able to offer the facility puts Airedale Hospital on a par with leading centres such as Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Around one in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime – and a biopsy is a key part of confirming a possible diagnosis.

It involves using thin needles to take small samples of prostate tissue, which are then examined through a microscope.

The old procedure involved an ultrasound-guided technique, which will still be used with a small percentage of people.

But around 90 per cent of patients will now undergo the new method, where a needle is passed through the perineum.

Anna Zoltowski, consultant uro-radiologist at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very proud to be able to offer this new service, which is a breakthrough for our patients’ safety – significantly reducing their risk of infection and giving us extremely accurate biopsies using the very latest technology available.

“Introducing this new service in the middle of a global pandemic has been challenging, but we are delighted to now be able to offer transperineal biopsy to any patient for whom the technique is suitable.”

She added: “Biopsies are an integral part of the diagnosis which then determines what treatment a patient would have.

“Prostate cancer is very varied. There are certain versions that require no treatment whatsoever and there are aggressive forms which need aggressive treatments. The biopsy tells us if there is cancer, how much and how aggressive it is. That’s the decision that then helps the urologist and oncologist decide on the treatment. Prostate biopsy is the mainstay of prostate cancer diagnosis.”

Around 350 men a year will benefit from the new service, which has seen a total investment of more than £140,000.

The Friends of Airedale charity has provided support, donating £16,000 for a special chair to be used during the procedure.

John Lofthouse, Friends of Airedale chairman, said: “As always we are pleased to provide funds for equipment that helps the patient. We are proud to say we have donated, over the past ten years, around £250,000 per year to providing equipment like this.”