September is recognized as Prostate Health Month. The awareness campaign is to help encourage men to have a discussion with their doctor about their prostate health and the screenings available. And as with breast cancer, early detection is key to successful treatment.
The chances of developing prostate cancer increase dramatically for men over the age of 50: While 1 in 350 men under age 50 is expected to be diagnosed, the probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer after turning 50 grows to 1 in 52, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Overall, 1 in 9 men is expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, making prostate cancer the second most commonly occurring cancer in men in the world and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States.
That’s the sobering news.
The good news is that that many cases of prostate cancer are not clinically significant enough to require surgical treatment and that most cases that are clinically significant can be detected before the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, making it very treatable. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 99 percent.
The even better news is that advancements in technology, including the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are allowing for more effective diagnosis, management and treatment. MRI scans have proven benefits before, during and after the initial diagnosis.
Historically, prostate cancer has been diagnosed through a non-targeted transrectal ultrasound systematic (TRUS) biopsy. However, the limitations of this procedure have led to a range of challenges in prostate cancer management. A standard biopsy can miss clinically significant cancers and can detect cancers that are not significant.
“Because of these issues, patients and treating physicians can lack confidence in the results of the biopsy, leading to anxiety, uncertainty, and potentially serial repeat biopsies in attempting to establish a diagnosis and overall level of risk,” says Dr. Matthew Levine, radiologist at Derry Imaging and Director – Prostate MRI. “Prostate MRI addresses these challenges by identifying areas in the prostate suspicious for clinically significant cancer while tending not to detect many clinically insignificant ones.”
Once a diagnosis of prostate cancer is made, the combination of the biopsy results and MRI scans allows a medical team to better analyze the significance of the cancer. Some prostate cancers require no immediate surgery or other therapy. They can be managed with a process of active surveillance that includes clinical follow-up consisting of serial prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test measures, digital rectal exams, MRI exams and biopsies.
MRI scans can help depict where a clinically significant cancer is located within the prostate gland and if the cancer has spread beyond the margin of the prostate. This type of information is critical to determining the best treatment options.
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The MRI machines utilized at Derry Imaging enables us to acquire high-resolution, detailed images without the use of an endorectal coil (a coil placed in the rectum that is utilized by some institutions to obtain satisfactory images).
Our commitment to patient comfort and the most advanced technology allows us to provide the best possible patient experience. We are also committed to making healthcare as affordable as possible by offering the best quality imaging at 40-70 percent less than area hospital imaging centers.
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