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Smarter Screening for Prostate Cancer

What is MRI of the Prostate?

An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a noninvasive medical test that utilizes a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed images of organs, soft tissues, bones and other internal body structures. The detailed images that the MRI produces allows physicians to more closely evaluate various parts of the body in order to detect certain diseases, like prostate cancer.

MRI is an effective tool to diagnose prostate cancer in patients, as it allows the physician to examine the prostate and evaluate the surrounding lymph nodes and tissue as well as the chemical makeup to distinguish between non-cancerous and cancerous areas or tumors. The images and information provided by the MRI then aid the physician in a number of ways including: cancer diagnosis and staging as well as selecting the best treatment plan.  Once a cancer diagnosis is confirmed, staging can be determined using MRI images to see if the cancerous tissue is present only in the prostate gland, or has spread to other areas of the body. From there, the physician can begin to develop an appropriate treatment plan with the patient.  MRI can be used to evaluate other prostate problems as well including; infection, prostate abscess (collection of pus), an enlarged prostate, birth defects and complications after pelvic surgery.

Your MRI Exam:

When you go in for your MRI, a technologist will help to position you on the exam table.  Once in place, the technologist will take a series of images. If needed, contrast material will be administered by placing an IV in the hand or arm to make body structures more visible on the MRI images.  During the MRI, it is very important to remain completely still while the images are being taken because even slight movement can produce blurry images. A typical MRI takes approximately 45 minutes and patients can return to normal activities immediately after the exam is completed.

Smarter Prostate Screening with MRI:

MRI is the preferred method to diagnose prostate cancer because it is a quick, noninvasive procedure that produces clearer, more detailed images of the prostate and surrounding tissue with the ability to provide unique biologic and functional information that may not be identified with the use of other imaging technologies. The enhanced quality of the images allows physicians to detect prostate cancer and other abnormalities that may be present in the prostate, can help the physician differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous areas and ultimately begin potentially life-saving treatment faster.

MRI and Biopsy:

In addition to a more accurate diagnosis, MRI imaging also plays a vital role in the cancer screening process, particularly before making a biopsy decision. MRI results help to measure prostate volume and pinpoint the location of cancers in the body and therefore can aid in producing more effective biopsies.  In addition, conducting an MRI before a biopsy will help the patient and their physician decide on the best course of action for future treatment options and other clinical decisions.

MRI and PSA Levels:

MRI can also help to answer important Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening questions. PSA tests can provide early detection of prostate cancer by measuring the levels of prostate-specific antigens present in the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels may be a sign of prostate cancer. MRI can help to identify if cancers in the prostate are caused by increased PSA levels.  MRI is best suited to identify larger cancers that may be more deadly or require treatment. This means that MRI can provide additional evidence for cancer diagnosis and, in turn, lead to more confidence in clinical decisions.

By using MRI to conduct more effective and detailed prostate screenings, prostate cancer can be detected early and help to present more confident diagnoses and appropriate treatment options.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men, making MRI and other detailed screenings and important part of men’s health.


For more information on MRI’s and other Diagnostic Imaging services offered at DuPage Medical Group visit https://www.dupagemedicalgroup.com/services/radiology/.

Topics and Subtopics: Cancer, Diagnostic Testing, Men's Health & Radiology

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