Dr. Edward Soffen, Radiation Oncologist and regional prostate cancer expert: “All men with elevated PSA levels should receive an MRI—period. The days of blind prostate biopsies should be over as a first step in diagnosing prostate cancer. Plus, the prostate MRI is non-invasive and more accurate.”
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, the second most common cancer in men. Though this statistic may seem daunting, a streamlined, accurate diagnosis and treatment plan will allow many men affected by prostate cancer to live normal, fulfilling lives.
It all starts with an elevated PSA or an abnormal rectal exam.
An elevated level of PSA—or prostate-specific antigen—in your blood is the earliest indication that you may have prostate cancer. Regular PSA screenings, in combination with rectal exams, are crucial to determining and understanding your prostate cancer risk. If your doctor detects an abnormality or you have an elevated PSA level, your doctor may refer you for further evaluation.
What happens after the exam?
Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.1 For patients with a high PSA level or for whom their doctor suspects prostate cancer, a prostate MRI is an important next step.
Prostate MRI: when accurate diagnosis leads to better treatment.
The prostate MRI combines two advanced technologies: detailed, high-resolution pictures produced by the MRI and sophisticated computerized modeling of blood flow to your prostate gland. The result is a three-dimensional color map that displays any potential tumor sites in the prostate gland.
Studies show MRI can be a more accurate way to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer than a blind biopsy alone. Prostate biopsies sample only a small portion of the prostate gland, while MRI sees the whole gland. In addition, a prostate MRI may help avoid the need for a biopsy. If your doctor believes a biopsy is still needed after the MRI, then the MRI can be used to direct the biopsy to the areas of greatest suspicion.
What to expect during an MRI of the prostate.
MRI uses a non-radioactive, non-invasive magnetic field and radio-frequency pulses to produce images of the inside of your body. During the MRI, you will lie comfortably on the exam table as it enters the machine. You will hear repeated drum-like knocking sounds as the scans are recorded. These sounds can be quite loud, but they are normal. Our staff will explain every step of the procedure and ensure you are as comfortable as possible!
You have an elevated PSA or an abnormal rectal exam—now what?
Your doctor will receive a full report detailing the findings. At Princeton Radiology patients are also given access to their reports immediately. If your MRI shows a suspicion of prostate cancer, your doctor will prepare treatment plans based on your own individual situation, including your risk level, specific MRI findings, and any other health conditions you may have.
Regardless of your specific scenario, Princeton Radiology is here to care for your prostate health. If you or your doctor have questions about diagnostic options specific to your prostate health, call 609.921.8211 or request an appointment online.
1Source: American Cancer Society
Prostate MRI Locations
This exam is available at the following locations: