September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. At Independent Imaging, we understand the importance of regular cancer screenings and using advanced imaging systems to help diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, including prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men in the US. Slow growing, prostate cancer occurs in a man’s prostate gland, a walnut-sized organ that is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer tend to be older than 65. Generally, men do not die from the disease, but it still requires treatment because it can easily metastasize (spread from the prostate into other body areas such as bone, liver, testicles, and lungs). Cancer cells from the prostrate can also enter blood vessels and lymph nodes, advancing the cancer much further. Detecting prostate cancer early, while it is much more treatable, not only improves overall quality of life, but can also prevent it from becoming a more aggressive form of cancer.
How Imaging Can Help Diagnose Cancer
Detecting and treating prostate (and other forms of cancer) has become much easier, thanks to advanced diagnostic imaging tools such as MRI’s, CT scans, and others. If prostate cancer is suspected, a doctor will order a few tests like Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screening and a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer, as well as sending the patient for an MRI.
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a tool that was developed to create detailed, cross-sectional pictures of the inside of our bodies. With the use of radiofrequency waves and powerful magnets, MRI systems can distinguish between normal and diseased tissues. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Although harmless, patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or with any type of metal within the body can not be scanned with the MRI because of the effect of the magnet.
MRI scans are an important part of diagnosing not only prostate cancer, but all cancer diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning because of it’s ability to distinguish between normal and diseased tissue. It allows doctors to accurately pinpoint the cancerous cells within the prostate.
An MRI procedure is painless and only takes up about 30 minutes to an hour. The patient lays down on a table, they will then be slid into a tunnel shaped scanner. At this point all the patient has to do is relax.
When it comes to diagnostic imaging, we at Independent Imaging are experts in our field. We work with you and your doctor to ensure they get the vital information needed to treat any illness (including cancer), injury, or condition you may have. We practice safe, patient-focused care and are here for you.
If you, or a loved one, needs exceptional care from one of our board-certified radiologists in the Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth or Royal Palm Beach areas, please call (561) 795-5558, or request an appointment online today. We are here to help.