As part of Men’s Health Month, it’s important that we address and bring awareness to men’s health issues. One of these issues being prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Prostate cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed, non-skin, cancer in men in the United States. Finding prostate cancer at a point that it can be successfully treated when it is localized to the prostate, remains important. Many new treatment and diagnostic options, including options for both localized and advanced prostate cancer, have continued to improve prostate cancer outcomes.
One of the new advancements in the diagnosis of prostate cancer is prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Prostate MRI has advanced, and now provides the ability to find specific lesions or tumors in the prostate that may be cancers. Although MRI alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer, it is able to provide very good guidance for prostate biopsy in order to find cancers. Many of these cancers have been missed in the past, as a standard prostate biopsy focuses on general regions of the prostate and not on specific tumors.
Currently, Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) remains one of the most valuable tools in screening for prostate cancer. Although there has been controversy with PSA over the past few years, it remains very valuable as long as it is managed appropriately. We continue to perform prostate biopsy for elevated PSA but, without guidance to specific lesions or tumors, cancers have still been missed. Prostate MRI and MRI guided biopsy has become very helpful in finding these ‘missed’ cancers.
With prostate MRI, and with tools we have for merging MRI with prostate ultrasound, we are now able to biopsy specific lesions or tumors that are at risk for being cancers. We are currently using the UroNav MRI/ultrasound fusion system. With advanced technology and equipment we have made available at St. Rita’s over the past year, we are now able to import MRI images directly into our in-office ultrasound machine and then use these to guide biopsy and often find cancers that have been or would be missed with a standard biopsy. These ‘fusion biopsies’ are performed by first, scanning the prostate with ultrasound. The computer system then takes previously performed MRI images and ‘fuses’ these to the ultrasound images so that actual MRI images are able to be visualized, along with the ultrasound images, as the biopsy is performed. In less than a year with this technology we have been able to find many prostate cancers, some of which had remained hidden for several years despite multiple standard biopsies performed in the past.
At Lima Urology at St. Rita’s, our goal is to always have the best technology and equipment available in diagnosing and treating genitourinary disease. Utilizing prostate MRI and UroNav, we are able to provide the most advanced tools and techniques currently available in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. With better and earlier diagnosis, we will continue to be able to provide prostate cancer care that is second to none.
Dr. Craig Nicholson is a urologist at Lima Urology at St. Rita’s Medical Center. He also works closely with Logan Smith, certified nurse practitioner, and they are bringing awareness this month to the men’s health services offered at Lima Urology at St. Rita’s. To learn more about the services at Lima Urology at St. Rita’s, please call their office at: 419-228-8950 or visit mercy.com.