By Lynne Adkins

By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Local doctors are testing an ultrasound method to detect and monitor prostate cancer.

A million men are biopsied for prostate cancer each year, according to Dr. Ethan Halpern (photo), the co-director of the Thomas Jefferson prostate diagnostic center.

He says the procedure involves taking 12 tissue samples from all over the prostate. He’s testing an ultrasound method that uses gas bubbles to light up tumors or suspicious areas on a monitor, so doctors can limit the needle stick to that one spot.

“It’s a very unpleasant procedure and that’s why we’re so interested in using contrast enhance ultrasound as a less invasive way to diagnose the presence or more aggressive cancers without having to put a needle all over someone’s prostate,” Dr. Halpern explains.

Doctors often monitor patients with prostate cancer so they require repeated biopsies; he says this procedure could be used for them too.