It’s no surprise that there is confusion surrounding the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Recommendations for when men should have it vary and results are often unclear.
There is, however, general agreement that men should be informed about the potential risks and benefits of PSA screening before being tested so they, with the advisement of their primary care physician, can make an informed decision on what next step (s) to take. For example:
- When the PSA is normal, 15 percent of men still have prostate cancer
- When the PSA is abnormal, only 12 percent of men have prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. In 2012, The American Cancer Society estimates 241,740 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 28,170 men will die from it.
Very recently, groundbreaking MRI technology is taking some of the worry and confusion away from managing this disease. By using modalities such as MRI, physicians have the opportunity to more accurately determine a patient’s prostate cancer severity and minimize the number of prostate biopsies required, which is currently between12 and 30 samples. This can help reduce the estimated $2 million in costs to the healthcare system.
Currently, more than 1.2 million men in the U.S. have these biopsies each year but less than 15 percent come back positive for cancer. Without an optimal visual picture of the prostate and surrounding area, biopsy exams are essentially conducted “blindly.” This can lead to missed cancerous lesions while unnecessarily oversampling other sections.
Similar to advanced breast MRI studies, clinicians interpreting prostate MRIs often use a computer aided image analysis system to support improved workflow and analysis of the contrast enhancement, MRI VividLook® technology currently being used by radiologists at Lake Medical Imaging in The Villages.
“This exam serves as an enhancement to prostate ultrasound,” said Dr. Cathrine Keller, managing physician for the group.
“With this technology, we are able to better localize sites of potential cancer from within the complex vasculature of the prostate and give our patients and their referring physicians additional information to support a more accurate diagnoses and to help them plan the best treatment options.”
For more information about any of the services of Lake Medical Imaging, call 352.787-5858 or visit www.LakeMedicalImaging.com.