Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Almost 2 million men are considered survivors of prostate cancer and with advances in medical imaging and prevention, hopefully this number will become much more. Although it is occurs in high frequency, it can be treated successfully.
Recently, there have been trends that begin online and with social media promoting support and research for certain conditions. For example, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took the country by storm in 2014 or making Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and having sport teams and users show their support with pink. Another popular online movement has made November “No Shave November” to show solidarity for those with and surviving prostate cancer. Men across the country go the entire month of November without shaving their facial hair and the results can get pretty incredible. Normally clean-shaven bankers and teachers suddenly look like mountain men in the hopes of bringing more support to finding a cure as well as reminding men to have regular prostate exams.
Prostate exams, like gynecological exams, are a somewhat uncomfortable, but a very necessary part of life. For men, there are two options when having a prostate exam: a simple blood test or a rectal exam. Men can have either option but there are benefits and disadvantages to both. The blood test is less intrusive but it is still possible to miss something critical. While the rectal exam can be extremely uncomfortable, it is also one of the best ways to determine if there is a problem with the prostate.
If a biopsy is necessary, MRI scans should be used for imaging before any needle intervention. A 3.0 T MRI machine is recommended which usually makes it unnecessary to insert an uncomfortable balloon into the patient’s rectum. If a biopsy is performed before the MRI, the MRI will need to be delayed for up to two months in order to reach maximum clarity. Unfortunately, doing it in the proper order is sometimes a problem for insurance companies. Ultrasounds are also occasionally used, but work best during the biopsy portion of testing due to their low tissue resolution.
With regular check-ups and annual prostate exams, the chances of finding prostate cancer in the advanced stages is incredibly rare. When found early, prostate cancer is extremely treatable and has a relatively high survival rate. That is why it is medically imperative that men, especially over the age of 50 or with a family history of prostate cancer, need to have regular prostate exams.
Showing your support of men fighting this condition is noble but be sure that you are practicing what you preach. Make sure that you and your friends are having regular prostate exams and avoiding the dangerous lifestyle choices that can accelerate cancer cell formation like smoking, working unprotected around dangerous chemicals, excessive drinking, or unhealthy nutrition. So stand in solidarity with other men. Ditch the razors and raise awareness for prostate cancer in November with No Shave November.
Doctors Imaging has a ten-year experience in Prostate MRI imaging having performed hundreds of examinations. Need to schedule a medical imaging appointment for your prostate in the Metairie/New Orleans area? Book an appointment online, or by calling 504-883-8111.