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New Technology for Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Health

First if you suspect any prostate problems get to a physician for an evaluation as soon as possible. Do not wait. Make a prostate evaluation a part of your yearly physical exam.

MRIS (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Spectroscopy) is a relatively recent technology that holds great promise in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

Many men over 40 years of age without any prostate related symptoms become aware of prostate problems as a result of a simple blood test called a PSA. A PSA is now routinely given as part of a yearly physical exam. Your Doctor evaluates the score of the PSA blood test and determines from your age, symptoms, and a DRE, (Digital Rectal Exam) if you need to see a urologist for further evaluation. If urologists suspect cancer might be present, they will perform a needle biopsy that takes a sample of the prostate tissue for testing to see if suspicious cells are present.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Spectroscopy (MRIS) is now being used as a replacement for the needle biopsy in many suspected prostate cancer cases. This information is presented to give you an option to discuss with your doctor. MRIS at the very least provides a tool for a more precise biopsy procedure not available in the past. A recent development in the power of the magnets in this imaging technology promises to change the diagnostic landscape for many years to come. Possible candidates for the MRIS:

Men who want to avoid a biopsy procedure.

Men who want to diagnose prostate cancer that cannot be detected with a digital rectal exam or biopsy

Men with a persistently elevated PSA who may or may not have had a biopsy.

Men who have experienced a biopsy one or more times and want to improve the sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis.

Patients (and physicians) who want to evaluate the true extent of the disease when a prostate biopsy is positive.

Physicians who want to localize prostate cancer with precision so that fewer biopsies are required.

Men who have a rising PSA following various standard treatments for prostate cancer.

There are many more candidates for the MRIS technology than listed here and its application is as varied as the many ways the disease presents itself in individuals. However some of the more obvious things MRIS may be able to do are:

Allow for improved treatment strategies

Replaces random blind biopsies while evaluating the entire prostate.

Confirm lack of aggressiveness when prostate cancer is detected.

Confirm the absence of cancer following successful treatment.

Detect prostate cancer that is missed on biopsy.

Confirm organ confinement when cancer is diagnosed, enhancing treatment options.

MRIS has been called one of the greatest diagnostic tests available today for the detection of prostate cancer
Time will tell if this promising technology will reach its true potential in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.

As patients we must keep abreast of the latest treatments and stay informed so that all treatment options are considered. Staying informed is especially important when "new" technology such as MRIS may make have a profound impact on our health.