How MRIs Help Diagnose, Stage and Treat Prostate Cancer

If you’re a man over the age of 50 years old, you have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. If you’re between the ages of 70 and 74, you are in the average age group of men who are diagnosed.

Most forms of prostate cancer are slow-growing, but more aggressive prostate cancers can occur. The more aggressive cancers increase the risk of spreading further throughout the body, including bones and lymph nodes.

Right now, there are many undiagnosed men who are living with prostate cancer but have never noticed the symptoms. It’s possible they will eventually pass away from other causes, but every man deserves the benefit of regular screenings and precautions.

Talk to your doctor about any symptoms or family history of prostate cancer. If you suspect you may be suffering from symptoms of prostate cancer, discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor may order a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. If warranted by your PSA test results, your doctor can order an MRI or ultrasound imaging as the next step.

Due to the low resolution of ultrasound, an MRI Scan is the preferred method of prostate cancer imaging before or after biopsy if treatment is anticipated with hormones, surgery, or radiation.

Four Ways MRIs Are Useful in Combatting Prostate Cancer

Medical imaging, specifically MRI, is a helpful tool in staging and monitoring:

  1. For those at risk of progressive prostate cancer, an MRI helps doctors in surveillance of the patient’s condition.
  2. MRIs are used to target a specific area for prostate cancer — a biopsy.
  3. With those who have been diagnosed but are slow progressing, MRIs help doctors determine the stage of the disease.
  4. For advanced prostate cancer patients, MRI helps detect the possibility of the disease spreading.

Historically, MRI methods for finding prostate cancer call for the use of endorectal coils for clarity purposes and to use contrast material. However, recent reports indicate that using a 3T MRI scan can eliminate the need for an endorectal coil while still conveying a strong probability of cancer cells in the prostate. Both of these experiences can be mildly uncomfortable for patients.

Doctors Imaging offers Diffusion-Weighted MRIs which are extremely beneficial to both finding and treating prostate cancer. Diffusion MRIs work to track the movement of water through the body’s systems. As water moves through the body and prostate glands, doctors can monitor the path. When the water behaves in an unfamiliar way, your doctor will be able to focus on that region and find the cancer cells.

Doctors Imaging first introduced the 3T MRI to New Orleans in 2006 and then developed protocols for 3T/ Diffusion Imaging scanning of the prostate. Doctors Imaging is also responsible for introducing prostate spectroscopy and dynamic contrast enhancement to the metro area, thus aiding in the successful treatment of hundreds of cases.

When Preventative Medical Imaging is Necessary

A large population of people are admittedly afraid to go to the doctor. It could be the fear of finding a problem, the worry about the possibility of pain, or sometimes they’re just not wanting to be bothered. But doctors are there to heal their patients and if they have to give you bad news or a painful procedure, it is because they seek to help you. One aspect of visiting your physician that is not painful is having medical imaging performed. Medical imaging tests are given to patients in order to give doctors better tools for determining health conditions and creating treatment plans. However, if you do not go to the doctor very often or avoid your annual check-up, you may not be aware of your need for an imaging procedure. If any of the following conditions apply to you, you should speak to your doctor about having an imaging procedure scheduled in order to keep you as healthy and informed as possible.

If you have a high-risk lifestyle

There are a number of factors that contribute to your overall health. If you are living a lifestyle that is not conducive to healthy practices, you may be putting yourself at unnecessary risk. Factors such as smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of exercise are some of the worst habits to promote health problems. Even if you have stopped performing these activities, if they were once a habit, having medical imaging is still beneficial to determine any residual damages.

If you have a family history

If you know that you have a family history of conditions like heart disease, cancer or degenerative illness, having medical imaging procedures performed regularly is definitely recommended. For many that know their family histories, having these tests performed is a frightening activity because of the possible results. While it is fine to be afraid, finding out the truth as early as possible is the best way to treat any condition that may arise.

If you are over 50 years of age

It is an unfortunate fact that as you age, health conditions tend to become more prominent than when one is younger. Do not be confused and think that once you become fifty years of age, you begin degenerating. Fifty is just a benchmark age that doctors begin recommending certain lifestyle changes and medical tests to be aware of any possible health changes. So if you have reached this age, having regular imaging procedures performed is the easiest way to stay on top of your health and to avoid any surprises.

These are just a few of the conditions that physicians would recommend having regular imaging procedures performed if they apply to you. If none of these conditions apply to your life but you still want to determine your health conditions, speak to your radiologist about your options and the best tests for you.

Looking for appropriate medical imaging tests in Metairie, Louisiana? At Doctors Imaging, our radiologists are concerned with patient care. You c­­an schedule your imaging appointments online, or by calling 504-883-8111.