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How Accurate is MRI in Diagnosing Prostate Cancer?

How Accurate is MRI in Diagnosing Prostate Cancer?

Did you know that prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer found in men? In its early stages, prostate cancer may have very few signs or symptoms. However, when prostate cancer is detected early, it has the best chance for successful treatment. 

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second-most common form of cancer in men, affecting approximately 300,000 men in the United States every year. According to the American Cancer Society, the average American man has a one in nine chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. 

The prostate is a walnut-size gland that is part of the male reproductive system, located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer occurs when the prostate gland develops malignant cells that are capable of spreading throughout surrounding tissue, lymph nodes or bones if left untreated. 

Prostate Cancer Screening

As with many forms of cancer, early detection in the form of prostate cancer screening yields the greatest chance for a cure. Chicago Prostate Cancer Center Doctors recommend a yearly PSA  blood test and a yearly digital rectal exam (DRE) to stay informed. 

Detection Methods for Prostate Cancer

One early detection method is a simple blood test that measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the blood. A prostate biopsy, a method in which a tissue sample is extracted and examined, is another commonly used diagnostic method used for prostate cancer. 

But now another diagnostic method is gaining more popularity: the prostate MRI. The MRI is a non-invasive, non-surgical method in which prostate cancer can be diagnosed with more detailed images of the prostate as opposed to other tests.

Biopsy vs Prostate MRI 

A prostate biopsy is a procedure performed to remove samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate and is used to detect prostate cancer. The most common way of performing a prostate biopsy is passing the needle through the wall of the rectum in a procedure known as a transrectal biopsy.  Stereotactic Transperineal Prostate Biopsy (STPB) is performed by comprehensively sampling the prostate through the perineum while the patient is under general anesthesia. The benefits of STPB include:

  • An increased ability to identify hiding cancers 
  • No hospital stay necessary (outpatient procedure)
  • Minimally invasive (no stitches)
  • Very low level of discomfort
  • Virtually no risk of infection from the procedure

The prostate biopsy diagnosis has been around for a while and has proven results, some patients might choose to opt for a more non-invasive alternative such as a prostate MRI.

The main difference between the procedures stems from an MRI’s use of magnetic waves to produce an image, as opposed to needle insertion of a prostate biopsy. The prostate MRI can also help find prostate cancer if you previously had elevated or rising PSAs. MRI is comparable in accuracy to prostate biopsy and it can be essential to help determine the extent of the prostate cancer by helping Doctors find out if the cancer has spread. We recommend you talk to your Doctor for more information on whether a prostate MRI or a prostate biopsy is better for your treatment. 

For more in depth information on these trials that covered MRIs and prostate-biopsy relations in diagnosing prostate cancer, please visit this website to read the findings for yourself. We encourage everyone to do their own research on these matters, but our team will help guide you through the right treatment path for your situation. 

How Accurate is MRI In Diagnosing Prostate Cancer?

Various studies and trials have put MRI to the test of diagnosing and detecting prostate cancer. In one particular study, researchers looked at different scenarios for detecting and accurately diagnosing prostate cancer: 

  • Can we predict who can benefit from a pre-prostate biopsy MRI? 
  • Do patients with positive MRIs need a prostate biopsy? 
  • How accurate is MRI in diagnosing prostate cancer?

Data found that patients who had higher levels of PSAs may be the ones who would benefit from a pre-prostate biopsy MRI. The study found that men with higher levels of PSA who underwent prostate biopsies were more likely to have their diagnosis upgraded to a more clinically significant prostate cancer. This means that initial tests may not have been as accurate as doctors would have liked in showing the severity of the prostate cancer. Those who underwent MRI had significantly fewer upgraded diagnoses, which supports the hypothesis that MRIs can aid in accurately diagnosing prostate cancer when paired with other methods of diagnosis. 

If a patient has had a positive MRI returned to them, does it make sense for them to go further testing? That’s the question another trial sought to answer. Findings have shown  a combination of MRI and prostate biopsy can lead to findings of higher grade cancer being found. It was found that the complementary pairing of prostate biopsy tests has proven beneficial in making sure diagnoses aren't under treated. A trial showed the cancer detection rate was approximately 60% accurate for prostate biopsy and 70% accurate when a combination of detection methods (biopsy and MRI) were used. 

Similar results were produced when looking at patients with known elevated PSA levels and MRI-visible prostate lesions. Combined biopsy methods were around 60.0% accurate, while the introduction of MRI was over 50% accurate. This trial had the fewest amount of upgrades in diagnosis, showing it most accurately diagnosed the prostate cancer’s significance. 

Have Your Prostate Screening & Diagnosis Done at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center

If you have prostate cancer or are at risk for prostate cancer, talk to your care provider about having your prostate screening done at Chicago Prostate Cancer Center. Call CPCC at (630) 654-2515 to learn more or contact us today for more information. 

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