Understanding Prostate Cancer
Education is the first weapon in the fight.
Prostate cancer is the most common organ cancer in men. It remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death in males, with 220,000 new cases causing an estimated 27,500 deaths a year. The risk of getting prostate cancer is about 1 in 7, while about 1 man in 38 will die of the disease.
Typically, prostate cancer is suspected if common symptoms are present (including urinary or sexual problems), a digital rectal exam reveals bumps or hard areas on the prostate, or a blood test reveals elevated PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels.
Who’s most at risk?
Men over 50 years of age, any man over 45 who has immediate family members who have or had prostate cancer, and any African-American male over 40 years of age are at the highest risk for prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men within these categories receive regular prostate cancer screenings to increase the chances of early detection.
Your PSA is elevated. Now what?
First of all, don’t panic. Many other factors, including common Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH), can elevate PSA levels. But don’t ignore this, either. Elevated PSA (greater than 4 or rising quickly over the last reading) is an early warning to investigate further. Over 1 million American men annually have an elevated PSA level but have negative biopsies.
Standard care versus state-of-the-art. Changing the way we find your cancer.
Typically, if PSA levels are cause for concern, further diagnostic tests will be ordered. These procedures can be uncomfortable, risky and oftentimes unnecessary.
Currently, nearly all U.S. hospitals and imaging centers require biopsies of the prostate to validate their suspicion of cancer with a pathological tissue analysis and Gleason scoring. Gleason scoring is a commonly accepted histological methodology which is very useful in predicting cancer aggressiveness and prognosis. It is evolving by using actual tissue samples, scored in a pathology laboratory, then correlating with MRI data.
While biopsies are a necessary step once cancer is suspected, we encourage the use of the MRI to provide your physician, and you, with more complete information regarding your situation in conjunction with any anticipated biopsy procedure. MRI detects cancer with 80-90 Positive Predictive Value, but equally important, MRI presents with nearly equal Negative Predictive Value – meaning that if your MRI prostate cancer score is low, you may not need a biopsy at all! Biopsies are often a necessary step once a cancer is detected, but with MRI as a guide, the biopsy becomes very accurate (>80%). Read more about this and how FirstScan is collecting the research data in order to change the Standard of Care.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans are theoretically an excellent way of imaging soft-tissue organs like the prostate and identifying cancerous lesions without radiation exposure. But, while MRI scans are considered state-of-the-art, all MRI machines are not equal.
Standard MRI machines are not specifically designed for prostate imaging. The prostate is particularly difficult to scan due to its deep-seated location, making it a real challenge to obtain clear images from an external MRI antenna. For this reason, an endorectal probe (a specially designed antenna placed into the rectum) is often used to move the antenna close to the prostate which greatly improves MRI image quality and resolution. However, these endorectal probes are quite uncomfortable, time consuming to place and often rejected by many male patients — ultimately increasing their mortality risk. The endorectal probe can also distort the prostate anatomy to some degree, which can complicate image quality and localization of smaller lesions, making them harder to find.
Today however, FirstScan is utilizing an improved technology, a non-invasive pelvic MRI antenna that creates none of the undesirable effects above but with improved clinical outcome. Read more about this and how FirstScan is collecting the research data in order to change the Standard of Care.
FirstScan™ is changing the way prostate cancer is diagnosed.
The Prostate/Pelvic Coil, a unique external coil, is a recently patented invention from ScanMed®, the industry leader in MRI coil development. The coil easily wraps around a patient’s pelvic anatomy like a pair of shorts, and in just 20 minutes, it provides a more accurate image of the prostate in a more comfortable, affordable way. Combined with the analysis of a skilled radiologist, FirstScan™ is revolutionizing prostate cancer diagnosis methodologies — and choosing it is within your power.