Making (sound) waves in the fight against cancer

Each year, thousands of Canadian men with prostate cancer undergo biopsies to help their doctors better understand the progression and nature of their disease. It provides vital, sometimes life-saving information, yet cancer researcher John Lewis knows it can be a difficult test to ask of anyone.

“Currently the best way to get information is through a biopsy, which involves pushing 12 needles through an organ the size of a walnut. As you might imagine, it’s a very uncomfortable and invasive procedure,” says Lewis, the Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Alberta and a member of the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta. “Patients with low grade prostate cancer can decide not to get treatment and instead monitor the disease, but monitoring usually involves a biopsy every year or so. Many people opt for surgery instead of more biopsies. It is clearly something we need to improve upon.”

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