September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate cancer is the 2nd most commonly occurring cancer in men. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is located just below the bladder and creates fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Risk factors for prostate cancer include age, race, and family history.

PSA screening is the best tool currently available for detecting prostate cancer. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine when screening is appropriate for you. The American Cancer Society recommends the discussion about screening should take place at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African American men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

In its early stages, prostate cancer may not show any signs or symptoms. In more advance stages, some symptoms include trouble urinating, blood in urine, and blood in semen. If these symptoms occur, your doctor may recommend a prostate MRI. Prostate MRI imaging utilizes high-field MRI technology to analyze the blood flow through the prostate and detect abnormal areas of blood flow that may represent the sites of cancer within the prostate gland. The superior resolution offered by MRI enables physicians to determine cancer stage, conclude whether the cancer is contained within the gland or has spread, and help determine the most appropriate treatment path.

Your physician, in conjunction with the radiologists of Atlantic Medical Imaging, may choose to add prostate MRI to the imaging procedures used to diagnose, rule out, or follow the treatment of prostate cancer. Be assured that the technology and expertise used at AMI are of the highest quality and truly state-of-the-art. This technology not only provides increased accuracy but also affords increased comfort for the patient during the exam.

What should I expect during the exam?

As with most MRI exams, prostate MRI is completely non-invasive and painless. With the help of an MRI technologist, you will be positioned on a padded table, a padded coil will be placed across the top of your abdomen, and you will be moved slowly into the MRI machine. You will have a small IV placed into a vein in either your arm or hand. At a specific time during the exam, the contrast material will be injected into your arm to further enhance the prostate MRI images.

For your comfort you will be given earplugs during the exam. You will remain in contact with the technologist during the entire exam. Once the exam is complete you will be brought out of the magnet and assisted off the table by the technologist. You can resume your normal activities. Your images will be sent to the computer-enhanced analysis system for a radiologist to interpret and the written report of your results will be sent to your referring physician.

For more information about Prostate Cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society website.