Donor support allows QEII Health Sciences Centre to become first in Atlantic Canada to make real-time use of MR Fusion biopsy technology for more precise detection of prostate cancer

Nova Scotia Health’s QEII Health Sciences Centre made history again this fall, becoming the first hospital in Atlantic Canada to use advanced real-time technology that fuses magnetic resonance images with ultrasound images, to allow more precise guided biopsies of suspected prostate cancer.

Thanks to a collaboration by the departments of urology and diagnostic imaging, Nova Scotia Health’s Information Management and Technology team (IM/IT) and the QEII Foundation, the QEII Health Sciences Centre has purchased new technology that fuses MR images of the prostate with ultrasound-guided biopsy images, allowing much clearer, live visualization of the biopsy needle path. The system, one of only a few adopted into clinical practice in Canada, will be used for select patients meeting the criteria, who are referred by their urologist.

Prostate cancer is among the most common and treatable forms of cancer and this technology is allowing Nova Scotia to remain current with the latest standards and technology to support timely diagnosis and treatment.

“This is a huge step forward in providing the absolute best care for our patients, leading to early detection of prostate cancer and better treatment outcomes, as good as any other hospital in North America," said Dr. Greg Bailly, Chief of Urology for Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone, who led the push for the technology. “We are grateful to the QEII Foundation donors for supporting this emerging standard of care for our patients.”

Generous QEII Foundation donors funded approximately $450,000 of the $600,000 cost of the new equipment and software.

“QEII Foundation donors continue to step up and help health care in the region reach new heights,” said Susan Mullin, President, and CEO, QEII Foundation. “The real impact of this milestone is the patients who are accessing the best treatment with the hopes of the best outcomes possible. We are grateful to work with donors who share our vision to transform health care and today’s new treatment for prostate cancer is just one example of philanthropy at its best.”

QEII Radiologists' Dr. Andreu Costa and Dr. Mike Rivers-Bowerman completed these milestone procedures and were also heavily involved in the planning.

"In cases where traditional ultrasound alone is not enough, this fusion system allows us to target a specific area in the prostate gland with a high degree of accuracy, allowing for more reliable biopsy results to guide optimal management," said Dr. Costa.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with one in seven being diagnosed in their lifetime. The QEII will perform approximately 500 biopsies per year with the new MR Fusion technology.