Prostate biopsy: The old way is better and safer

December 1, 2010

I never joined the transrectal biopsy herd. I stuck with the perineal biopsy, which has been proven in a head-to-head trial to have a better yield of cancer.

Regarding the article, "Studies point to significant risks of prostate biopsy" (October 2010, page 1): I never joined the transrectal biopsy herd. I stuck with the perineal biopsy, which has been proven in a head-to-head trial to have a better yield of cancer.

Dipping a needle in feces and then putting it into the sterile prostate seemed unwise to me. Anybody can find five infectious deaths in 30 seconds by typing into PubMed "prostate biopsy death." In my book, "The Big Scare: The Business of Prostate Cancer," I calculate 947 deaths from prostate biopsy in the 1984-1997 period.

Dr. Nam's project to improve the transrectal protocol because of all the complications he reported is ill-conceived. He and all other urologists should return to the perineal biopsy of hard nodules identified by a simultaneous finger in the rectum. Sometimes the old way is better, safer. "Vox clamantis in deserto."