Prostate Cancer and MRI Biopsy

Use of MRI biopsy gives men more confidence in the treatment of prostate cancer

By Timothy Byler, MD

Physician Timothy Byler is an assistant professor of urology and member of Upstate Urology at Upstate University Hospital.
Physician Timothy Byler is an assistant professor of urology and member of Upstate Urology at Upstate University Hospital.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is diagnosed in about one in every nine men, according to American Cancer Society. It is generally found after an elevation in a routine blood test, prostate specific antigen (PSA) or after a bump is felt on the prostate during a doctor’s examination.

When one  of these two situations occur, men are often sent to see a urologist to discuss the situation further. Once one of these concerns arise, the only way to determine if there is cancer present is to biopsy the prostate.

In the past, many men had multiple of these biopsies due to continued concerns that their first biopsy could not answer. In the past 10 years, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has emerged as an imaging services tool that helps detect cancer and help limit the number of biopsies patients have. The MRI allows doctors to see areas in the prostate that may not normally be seen and specifically target them for biopsy. Many men with negative biopsies but continued concern over their PSA have opted for this new technology to help clarify their situation. After these MRI-guided biopsies, patients and their doctors feel much more confident that patients have chosen the right path for their prostate health.

A new diagnosis of prostate cancer can be frightening, and many men feel like they must proceed to aggressive treatment. With the confidence given by MRI biopsies, many men with low-risk prostate cancer now chose to observe and not treat their cancer. Observation of low-risk prostate cancer with blood tests and repeat MRI biopsies is called “active surveillance of prostate cancer.” These repeat biopsies help determine if their low-risk cancer has worsened or there is more than we initially knew about. Traditionally, these biopsies have been done using ultrasound, but more recently the MRI biopsy has been added for increased accuracy.

The addition of MRI-guided fusion biopsy to prostate cancer observation really helps patients feel more confident and guide them to deciding their treatment option.

Since 2013, Upstate has been able to offer these special prostate biopsies using the MRI known as “fusion biopsy.” More than 800 such biopsies have been done to date and it has greatly enhanced the prostate cancer program. As a leader in the field, Upstate serves a large area and receives patients for this special biopsy from all over Upstate New York and parts of Pennsylvania.

If you are interested in learning more about MRI fusion biopsy or general evaluation, don’t hesitate to call Upstate Urology at (315)-464-1500.