MRI for clinically suspected prostate cancer-the disparity between private and public sectors.

There is increasing evidence to implement multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) for biopsy-naive men with clinically suspected prostate cancer (PCa). This will reduce the number of unnecessary trans rectal ultrasound biopsies (TRUS-Bx) performed and reduce the number of indolent cancers diagnosed.

To assess current clinical practices for investigating clinically suspected prostate cancer in Ireland and determine if private health insurance providers are offering mpMRI scans in biopsy-naive men.

Each health insurance provider procedure code was reviewed. The indications and requirements for prostate mpMRI in the setting of diagnosis, staging, surveillance, and recurrence were assessed for each health care provider. Current practices adopted by accredited referral clinics for suspected prostate cancer were reviewed.

Two of the three leading health insurance providers, which between them cover 46% of the private health insurance market in Ireland, provide pre-biopsy mpMRI cover as of April 2019. This leaves almost half of those insured with no accessibility to pre-biopsy mpMRI. This is in contrast to the majority of public NCCP hospitals that offer pre-biopsy mpMRI for clinically suspected prostate cancer.

Pre-biopsy mpMRI for clinically suspected prostate cancer is emerging as a standard of practice in Ireland. International guidelines are also changing to reflect latest clinical trial evidence. Private health insurance providers should amend their policies to reflect current clinical practices already adopted in the public sector.

Irish journal of medical science. 2019 Oct 22 [Epub ahead of print]

Lee Chien Yap, Thomas Hugh Lynch, Rustom P Manecksha

Department of Urology, St. James's Hospital, James Street, Dublin, 8, Ireland. ., Department of Urology, St. James's Hospital, James Street, Dublin, 8, Ireland.