A cancer charity has said new scanners are needed in the fight against prostate cancer, despite an “impressive roll-out” over the last three years.
Freedom of information requests show 11 out of 14 NHS health boards in Scotland provide scans to the PROMIS trial standard.
The figures, obtained by Prostate Cancer UK, show services have made progress in ensuring the latest diagnostic tests for the disease, rising from just seven boards in 2017.
Now the charity wants further investment so other boards can meet the PROMIS trial standard, which found a multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) scan before a biopsy can radically improve detection of harmful forms of the tumour.
It has also called for staff shortages to be “urgently addressed”.
Heather Blake, director of support and influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate cancer diagnoses are set to soar in the coming years as the ageing population grows.
“It’s vital that radiology departments across Scotland are supported to cope with increasing demand, now and in the future.
“New scanners are critical and shortfalls in radiologist numbers must also be urgently addressed.
“We will continue to support health boards to deliver high-quality scans so that all men who could benefit have access to a more accurate diagnosis wherever they live.”
Ms Blake added: “The last three years have seen an impressive roll-out of mpMRI scanning across Scotland.
“This has been reinforced by the commitment from NHS Scotland to include mpMRI before biopsy in its prostate cancer performance indicators since the beginning of this year.
“This development, alongside the quality standards for these scans that we’ve helped shape, should cement an impressive service transformation and ensure men’s access to high-quality mpMRI.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We welcome the progress that the NHS in Scotland has made in implementing mpMRI pre-biopsy for men suspected of having prostate cancer. It is also encouraging that all mainland NHS boards are now offering MRI pre-biopsy with island patients being referred to mainland boards.
“The new Prostate Cancer UK demand model is a welcome addition and all NHS boards have now received a copy.
“A total of £9.9 million has been made directly available to support improvements in cancer and diagnostic performance in 2019/20 and we are increasing speciality training places in radiology by 75% by 2022.
“We are working closely with boards to support the implementation of pre-biopsy MRI through the collaboration with Prostate Cancer UK and the training opportunities it offers.
“Our £850 million Waiting Times Improvement plan and our £100 million Cancer Strategy aims to improve every aspect of cancer services – prevention, quicker diagnosis, and better treatment.
“We’re working with boards to build on the progress already achieved, so people have access to the most advanced treatment and technologies available, based on their safety and effectiveness.”