You’ve may have experienced or at least heard this scenario. Urologist to the patient, “Well it looks like your PSA is elevated, let’s schedule you for a prostate biopsy.” Really, just that quick?
It wasn’t too long ago, biopsy seemed like the only option to tell if a man’s PSA was elevated because of a prostate cancer. After all PSA, although a very good diagnostic blood test, is not cancer specific. In other words PSA elevation may be due to an enlarged prostate, a prostate infection or stimulation to the prostate gland or it could be a malignancy. And come to think of it, what if we do a prostate biopsy and the needle misses the cancer?
We’ve come a long way in the understanding how to diagnose and treat this potentially deadly disease, prostate cancer. Yes, prostate biopsy is important, but let’s takes a step back for a moment. What if we had a biomarker (like PCA3) for the urine, that if it is was elevated then we could take the next step.
What if we could look a prostate by imaging it, just like we do with other glands and organs in the body? By using a high magnet, 3T MRI, which provides us with a road map of the prostate we could see if an area that looks suspicious and then we can take the next step.
If we reduce the number of prostate biopsies, and improve the information that we get when we do biopsy, then we have made progress and yes we have all this technology available to us right now.