Prostate MRI: A new alternative


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What's New in Health Care 2014

AFTER SKIN CANCER, PROSTATE CANCER is the second most common cancer in American men. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer over their lifetime, and only lung cancer causes more cancer-related deaths. While the risk of prostate cancer increases exponentially with age, an increasing number of cancers are being diagnosed in younger men who desire treatment that minimizes time away from work or undesirable side effects. This has led to recent surgical advancements such as laparoscopic and robotic prostatectomy, cryotherapy and laser ablation. Radiation therapy or hormone therapy are also viable treatment options for some patients.

Diagnosing prostate cancer can be difficult. Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms, and men are screened with a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. Traditional management of abnormal results has been 12-core transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy. By the nature of this procedure, only small samples of the gland are obtained, and cancer can be overstaged, understaged or missed entirely. Some patients may require multiple rounds of biopsies in order to obtain a diagnosis.

MRI is a noninvasive, painless test that does not use ionizing radiation.  It provides excellent soft tissue detail, making it ideal for imaging small organs such as the prostate gland. Historically, MRI was only used for staging of prostate cancer. Recent advances in MRI technology have enabled radiologists to image the prostate gland in ways not possible before. Acquiring multiple sequences with different imaging parameters (multiparametric MRI) creates both an anatomic and physiologic depiction of the prostate gland, and accurately detects areas of tumor involvement. Color maps can be generated off of the contrast-enhanced images to highlight areas of tumor vascularity.

When paired with traditional PSA screening, multiparametric MRI can be helpful for targeted biopsy planning, and can provide valuable information for prostate cancer staging and treatment. Some patients with low-grade tumors may be candidates for active surveillance, and MRI can help facilitate this process as well. MRI can even be used to detect recurrent disease in patients who have already undergone prostatectomy.

Multiparametric prostate MRI is now available at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Lake Imaging Center. Radiology Associates LLC has multiple board-certified radiologists with fellowship training in prostate imaging who interpret the exams and work directly with treating urologists and radiation oncologists. Exam durations are typically less than 45 minutes and do not require the insertion of an endorectal coil, providing a comfortable experience for the patient. 

Radiology Associates  |  225.765.8819  |





Advanced MRI technology can accurately detect tumors in the prostate.

Color maps can be generated to highlight areas of tumor vascularity.

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