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New Technology Improving Prostate Cancer Survival Rates With Earlier Detection

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Surviving prostate cancer usually depends on finding it early. Now, scientists say, new technology is improving survival rates.

For years, doctors have used MRIs to identify suspicious parts of the prostate.

Now, new medical software developed at University College London fuses MRI scans with ultrasound images to better pinpoint prostate cancer.

''What we're doing is developing a better technology to enable a doctor or surgeon to do a better job," David Hawkes, a medical software developer, said.

Researchers say the "Smart Target" technology gives surgeons a clear location when inserting the needle during a biopsy.

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Hawkes helped create the system, which diagnosed his own prostate cancer three years ago and played a vital role in his treatment.

"For anybody who is diagnosed with the likelihood of cancer, it's quite a shock," he said. "But it did give me the opportunity to have that technology used on me."

Now, other men are using it too. In testing involving 129 men, the Smart Target software helped successfully diagnose more than 90 percent of prostate cancers.

''We're getting more accurate in how we can identify where lesions are, how we can treat lesions, remove them surgically, so it's an ongoing process," Hawkes said.

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Researchers hope as the process improves, so will survival rates for millions of men.

The Smart Target technology has been approved by the FDA after two successful trials.

Researchers plan to sell their technology to hospitals around the world, including in the United States.

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