Urologist targets new technology in prostate cancer diagnosis for S’wak


Dr Lewis (third left) proctoring Dr Roger in prostate biopsy, as fellow urologists look on.

KUCHING (May 22): A urology consultant practising in the United Kingdom is looking forward to introducing a new technology in prostate cancer diagnosis to Sarawak.

UK-trained Dr Lewis Mambu, an Iban from Kuching, said prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among men globally.

Dr Lewis Mambu

Citing World Health Organisation (WHO) data in 2018, he said prostate cancer is the third most common cancer for Malaysian men, where the age-adjusted death rate for prostate cancer in the country stands at 5.77 per 100,00 population.

“These relatively low incidences could be a result of lower screening rates. The incidence of prostate cancer in Asia is also on the rise. Despite interregional variations, currently, Asia accounts for 33 per cent of prostate cancer-related deaths worldwide.

“This calls for a better awareness and detection programme which compelled the SGH (Sarawak General Hospital) Urology Department to explore means necessary to increase their diagnostic repertoire,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.

Dr Lewis, also a certified Precision Point prostate biopsy trainer with extensive training experience in teaching fellow urologist in Europe, is presently attached to Barking Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust.

In an effort to introduce the new technology in prostate cancer diagnosis to Sarawak, Dr Lewis said together with Dr Roger Anthony Idi, a urology consultant at SGH, he had conducted a masterclass here on April 17 this year which saw the attendance of local and national urologists.

“The technology is called Precision Point prostate biopsy. This safe and reliable method is an emerging method in diagnosing prostate cancer which has recently been implemented in the majority of UK hospitals and being utilised in Europe and Australia.

“This hand guided method is done under local anesthesia via the transperineal route and utilises the cognitive skills of surgeons involved in targeting areas of the prostate gland, aided by an ultrasound scan to visualise and focus the biopsy on potential cancerous areas in the prostate, allowing for a targeted biopsy with less trauma to patient.

“The procedure, under trained hands, will take an average of 10 to 15 minutes without the need for patients to fast.

“The transperineal approach is widely accepted as having less complication, namely sepsis which is the issue with the traditional method in diagnosing prostate cancer. In addition, owing to the efficacy of this method in reducing sepsis, prostate biopsy can be done without the need for prophylactic antibiotics,” he explained.

Adding on, Dr Lewis said the masterclass was well received by the participants.

“The masterclass included talks regarding the implementation and benefit of this technology. The idea is to embrace a positive change whilst benefiting our local population by having a more efficient prostate cancer detection method,” he said.

Five patients, all men from diverse backgrounds including Iban, Chinese and Malay, had participated in the live case demonstration at SGH’s operating theater.

“The feedbacks from the patients were mainly positive with a relatively painless experience with minimal issue post operatively.

“As patients were under local anaesthesia, recovery was quick and uneventful and as such, this translates into a relatively hassle-free journey for patients with quick turnover for the hospital, saving time and money,” he said.

Looking forward, Dr Lewis said he and Dr Roger hoped that the method, when implemented well, will pave the way and aid for a more streamlined and efficient prostate diagnosis programme in the state.

“This technology allows for a quick and potentially more accurate diagnosis in prostate cancer which is relatively lacking in exposure in our community.

“Men with concerns for prostate cancer will benefit immensely from this relatively efficient method,” he said.

However, Dr Lewis said there is a need for funding from the government to ensure this could continue to be implemented in Sarawak.

“We are looking at turning SGH into the hub for Borneo for learning to do this method, meaning we can distribute the knowledge from anywhere. People can come to Kuching from Sabah, Indonesia and even from Peninsular Malaysia in the future.

“Once we are well trained and we can train others, people will know us as the training centre of excellence for this as well,” he added.

Dr Lewis informed that he is also planning to conduct a forum for doctors and members of the public here in August to increase awareness regarding prostate cancer.