Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thousands of biopsy results faulty in New Brunswick

After blood tests confirmed that my PSA levels were on the rise last summer, I had to undergo a prostate biopsy. This procedure shouldn't be taken lightly, as it determines whether there is actually a tumor present in the prostate gland.

Regardless of what PSA tests and digital rectal examinations find, the biopsy helps you and your doctor decide on a course of action regarding treatment.

So imagine the chaos that's been created in New Brunswick where the Miramichi Regional Health Authority is reevaluating biopsies of more than 23,000 patients taken over the past 12 years.


The health authority is re-examining the biopsies after an independent review of a former pathologist found 18% of his prostate and breast cancer cases in 2004 and 2005 had incomplete results and 3 percent were misdiagnosed, reports CBCNews.

A 97% success might seem pretty good, until you do the math and realize that if the rate holds true for all 23,000 cases, that's nearly 700 incorrect diagnoses.

The most recent cases are being reviewed first, as they have the most "clinical significance," CBC reports. The health department is seeking help from pathology labs across North America.

No comments: