Finding and Treating Prostate Cancer Early

A cancer diagnosis is never an easy moment. But if it has to come, it’s better to get the news while the cancer is still small or new. Given recent advances in detecting adult cancers, oncology doctors are able to inform their patients about how to treat and heal after a cancer diagnosis.

When found in the early stages, one of the most treatable cancers currently is prostate cancer. With higher standards of preventative testing and more information readily available, more men are finding out that they have prostate cancer in its early stages. According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, and is also one of the leading causes of cancer death in men.

But by keeping annual check-ups and having routine prostate exams, men can catch prostate cancer earlier. This means prostate cancer does not have to be fatal. In fact, many men with prostate cancer will not require aggressive treatment. Instead, their doctors may suggest watchful waiting.

Know the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Do you know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer? When prostate cancer is developing, men will sometimes notice:

  • bloody urine,
  • difficulty with or frequency of urination,
  • and sexual dysfunction.

Do not ignore these early symptoms for fear of judgment or embarrassment, as early detection can be the key to a successful treatment plan. You’ll thank yourself later.

Early Detection with PSA Tests, Prostate Exams and Medical Imaging

The best way to detect prostate cancer is to schedule and keep regular check-ups with your primary care physician, perform PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests, as well as have regular prostate exams.

If your doctor finds a prostate problem, your next step may be to schedule an ultrasound imaging exam for further evaluation. Many of us closely associate ultrasounds with pregnant women. However, both men and women can benefit from ultrasound imaging. For men, ultrasounds can determine whether there is a cancer growth around the prostate, whether the prostate gland is enlarged, and can help determine the cause of a man’s infertility.

Because of the location of the prostate, physicians and technicians must insert the transducer wand rectally in order to produce the best images. Because an ultrasound exam creates real-time results, doctors will often use them to guide biopsy wands in preparation for surgery. Although the procedure can be uncomfortable, patients should give primary importance to the information that doctors glean from these exams.

Your doctor may also choose to order an MRI of the prostate, which offers higher resolution images and more precision for detection, biopsy, and future treatment if needed.

Are you concerned about the possibility of prostate cancer or disorder? To access advanced medical imaging equipment and radiological techniques for detecting prostate cancer, come to Doctors Imaging. Our patients always pay less than they would at the hospital. And you won’t have to compromise comfort or service. You can call Doctors Imaging 504.883.8111 or request an appointment online.

The Innovations Found in a Modern MRI Scan

Since its creation in the 1970s, the MRI scan has been providing more than just images for patients and doctors. Magnetic resonance imaging gets its appeal because images of the internal organs are easy to acquire through without incisions and without radiation exposure. Because of these reasons, MRI technology has been utilized beyond its earlier diagnostic purposes and has been outfitted to perform new tasks.

Most recently, in southern California at the UC San Diego Health System, the first MRI guided brain surgery was performed in real-time. The patient has Parkinson’s disease and was having a deep brain stimulator implanted. DBS implantations are done in order to give the body electric stimulation in effort to calibrate the brain’s electrical systems that may be complicated by diseases like Parkinson’s and MS.

This procedure in San Diego is the first of it’s kind. Usually patients are placed under anesthesia but are awake for the procedure. However, this method can be “exhausting” because of procedure’s length and the need to perform testing in the operating room. However, thanks to the technology of the MRI scan, surgeons are able to place the device with continuous real-time MRI monitoring all while the patient is sleeping. MRIs have long been used to guide biopsies and other small surgeries but this new venture into brain surgery could create a world of difference for both the patients undergoing surgery but the physicians that have to perform them.

Other ways that MRIs are being used for innovation are for cancer research and diagnosis. Behind heart disease, cancer is the leading cause of death among people over 30 globally. The benefit that MRI holds for this kind of research is that there is no radiation exposure. In one recent study, multi-parametric MRI has been extremely instrumental for detecting prostate cancer. Among American men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer. And because prostate cancer doesn’t cause other health problems like most cancers, most men aren’t aware they have it.

Multiparametric MRI has been proven to have greater sensitivity for areas where lesions exist and helping to guide biopsies or even eliminate unnecessary biopsies. This will benefit doctors in identifying those patients that might be high risk for prostate cancer.

MRIs can offer a host of benefits for all those seeking health answers. Everyone from athletes to cancer patients, to brain surgeons use MRI technology in one way or another to help their patients or to gain more information about diseases and the body’s processes.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie is proud to offer our patients the advanced technology of the 3T MRI, the most powerful clinical MRI in clinical use for every part of the body as well as MRI services on Saturdays when most doctors offices and imaging facilities are closed. For more information on our MRI capabilities, including the new MRI Concussion Program, please visit the MRI Service Page or call our offices at 504-833-8111 to speak to a representative.

Supporting those with Prostate Cancer During No Shave November

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.

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.