Why early detection is vital in prostate cancer

The Medical City

Posted at Oct 01 2019 05:20 PM

In time for the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, experts at The Medical City hail a breakthrough method, MRI Fusion Prostate Biopsy, for a more accurate and precise diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs within the prostate – a small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces some of the fluid in semen and plays a small role in urination. Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer for men, with approximately 1.3 million new cases in 2018, according to the Global Cancer Observatory.

Is prostate cancer curable?

According to experts from The Medical City’s Augusto P. Sarmiento Cancer Institute (TMC-APSCI) and the Section of Urology, prostate cancer is treatable especially when caught early. But at its onset, early-stage prostate cancer often has no signs or symptoms as these usually occur at the later stage of the disease.

These signs and symptoms may include frequent urination, weak or interrupted urine flow, or the need for strained effort to empty the bladder, the urge to urinate frequently at night, blood in the urine or in the seminal fluid, and new onset of erectile dysfunction. There are also less common symptoms such as pain or burning during urination and discomfort in the perineum.

Doctors at TMC-APSCI stress the importance of early detection – when confined within the prostate, cancer can be eradicated.

Methods of detecting prostate cancer: The evolving role of MRIs

The only way to confirm prostate cancer is with a biopsy. Doctors determine the need for biopsy through three methods: a digital rectal exam (DRE), a prostate-specific antigen (PSA), or more recently, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan.

Doctors may perform a DRE alone or a DRE with a PSA test for routine screening. DRE, a simple procedure used by doctors to examine the lower rectum, can signal an enlarged prostate but it cannot determine if it is due to prostate cancer.

The most commonly used PSA test measures the amount of PSA in blood. High amounts of PSA may be a sign of prostate cancer but it is not entirely conclusive because there could be other reasons for this, such as an inflamed prostate or urinary tract infection (UTI).

The role of MRI scans has evolved together with the continuous progress in the field of medicine. Previously, a patient with an increased risk of prostate cancer undergoes an ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy where samples are taken from different areas of the prostate using a template where cancer is commonly seen.

However, the ultrasound cannot always identify suspicious targets for prostate cancer, and it cannot consistently distinguish between normal and abnormal areas of the prostate.

As a result, oftentimes, there are no definite targets or confirmation that a lesion was hit, and men may need to undergo repeat biopsies given continuing clinical suspicion as tumors may have been too small or in unusual locations to be detected using the standard template method.

At the forefront of new innovations and progress in the early detection and treatment of cancer, The Medical City offers MRI Fusion Prostate Biopsy, a fully integrated fusion biopsy system with "targeted" biopsies made possible by the fusion of ultrasound images of the prostate with MRI scans in real-time.

These MRI sequences are interpreted by radiologists specializing in screening and identifying the presence of potential cancer sites within the prostate. Once interpreted, it is sent to urologists to help them precisely target areas that need to be biopsied, and it serves as a guide in targeting lesions and confirming if these targets have been sampled.

The Medical City’s MRI Fusion Biopsy is specifically created for personalized prostate care and more precise treatment of lesions. Typically performed via the transrectal or transperineal approach, its advantages include more accurate diagnosis, pre-biopsy visualization of potential cancer lesions, and precise targeting of biopsies.

The MRI can also be helpful in detecting signs that cancer has spread beyond the prostate or lymph nodes that have metastasized. The goal of this technique resonates with TMC’s approach to improving and preserving the quality of life, and preventing over- and under-treatment of patients.

Comprehensive prostate cancer treatment at The Medical City

"An accurate and early diagnosis translates to cancer care that is more personalized to the patient and the disease," said Dr. Enrique Ian Lorenzo, head of the Urologic Oncology Program of The Medical City.

At TMC-APSCI, patients can expect a comprehensive, state of the art personalized care and proper education for them and their families about prostate cancer and the treatment options available.

A multidisciplinary team of urologists, surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, and nurses work closely with patients to identify and select the optimal course of treatment for them, including active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

One option is prostate surgery, either through the traditional open approach or laparoscopic, to remove cancerous tissue.

Robotic surgery, an advanced, minimally invasive surgical option offers benefits such as smaller incisions, less bleeding, lower risk of infection, and faster recovery time. The Medical City has been a pioneer in managing complex cases of robotic surgery since 2010.

If the cancer is confined within the prostate, radiation therapy may be offered as the first line of treatment. Chemotherapy is used if cancer has spread outside the prostate gland and hormone therapy is not effective.

The Medical City believes in a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and evidence-based approach that empowers patients with the information they need to make the best treatment decisions to help ensure satisfaction with treatment outcomes.

As the medical field continually advances and evolves with diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of prostate and all forms of cancer, TMC remains at the forefront in ensuring the institution has the optimal resources to achieve the best-individualized patient care, all aimed towards improving quality of life.

To learn more about prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatments available at The Medical City, please contacts TMC-APSCI at 9881000 or 9887000 ext. 6214 or email cancerinstitute@themedicalcity.com.

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