Specialized Laboratory Support to Ensure Early Diagnosis and to be the Key to Improve Prostate Cancer Care in the UAE

Published on : 21 March 2019
Location : Abu Dhabi


Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UAE.
Diagnosis only confirmed by microscope examination of tissue sample.
Subspecialized pathology expertise in essential to ensure early diagnosis.

A leading UAE-based pathologist says stronger, specialized laboratory support available locally could significantly improve care for prostate cancer patients, and that there is currently an increasing need for experienced pathologists able to accurately identify the presence – or absence – of cancer cells in prostate tissue sample.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 18th annual MEDLAB Congress in Dubai, Dr. Basel Altrabulsi, Chief Medical Officer at National Reference Laboratory (NRL), said prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers for males in the UAE, with early and accurate diagnosis essential for effective management of the disease. However, he said prostate pathology is a highly complex and challenging discipline, and our laboratory receives frequent requests for second opinions on prostate biopsies. 

“While we have excellent clinicians and pathologists in the UAE, the need to have subspecialized experts in genito-urinary pathology is high, given that prostate cancer is among the top three leading cancers in the UAE,” said Dr. Altrabulsi. “We have extensive expertise in prostate pathology within our pathology team and we continue to support our colleagues in the region to help with second opinion requests for any challenging case.”

NRL continues to establish best health and laboratory practice services, and it is committed to be the leading UAE-based provider of reference laboratory testing for prostate cancer. By offering vital support to clinicians and other laboratory service providers in rendering a timely and accurate diagnosis for patients.

Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed using a blood test called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a physical examination, and finally a biopsy. For this, tiny tissue samples are removed via a needle inserted into the prostate gland, with a pathologist then using a microscope to search the samples for cancer cells. In the disease’s early stages, there are few symptoms, or none at all, so screening and testing are essential to catching cancer while it is still contained within the prostate gland.

“A definitive diagnosis is essential to start treatment for prostate cancer” said Dr. Altrabulsi. “Our job is to provide accurate diagnosis and avoid false positive as well as false negative results to assure the proper treatment is delivered to our patients at the right time.”  

“Biopsy is an invasive procedure,” he said. “That makes it even more essential to get it right the first time. We don’t want a situation where the patient has to go through the process again without a very good reason.”

Dr. Altrabulsi spoke during Day Two of MEDLAB, on the ‘pearls and pitfalls in prostate biopsy diagnoses.