LONDON, Ontario. – Wayne Smith was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, but not before some tests were negative.
"A couple of biopsies showed nothing and there was a urine test that could be done and sent to Montreal and showed little chance of cancer."
But one last biopsy confirmed that Smith actually had prostate cancer. His prostate was removed, but his cancer returned.
"I had hormone blows, which weren't much, and I was lucky not to have any side effects. Then I had the radiation and I finished September 18th. "
Smith credits the new imaging technology used to find his recurrent tumor – called the PSMA tracer – for his successful treatment.
This new method, which also uses PET scans, is part of a study focused on early detection for recurrent prostate cancer.
Dr. Glenn Bauman, a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and radiation oncologist, says: "What the PET PSMA scan can do is tell us, okay, is there a recurrence isolated from the original intervention site? Is there a relapse in the lymph nodes, in the pelvis? Is it relapse in other sites of the pelvic area? "
Bauman states that all these questions can now be answered accurately and quickly using this new imaging method that far exceeds the standard tests.
"In the past we have been limited by using conventional tests using bone scans and CAT scans because it detects prostate cancer only when it is relatively advanced."
Smith is one of about 1,500 men across the Ontario who will take part in this study which spans five centers and will take two to three years to complete.
Once the study is complete, Bauman and his team hope that this new imaging method will become a standard practice and will make a huge difference for patients with prostate cancer.