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.