Men of Yavapai County, here’s some important health information: Our county has the second highest rate of prostate cancer among Arizona’s 15 counties, according to the National Cancer Institute. Nationwide, one in eight men in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer of the prostate – a small gland below the bladder – during their lifetimes.
But, there’s also reason to be optimistic. A non-invasive imaging study called prostate MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is finding prostate cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Even better news? Prostate MRI is available at Dignity Health Imaging Center in Prescott and Prescott Valley.
“Prostate MRI is the most sensitive study available for detecting cancer in the prostate,” says Deven Cox, DO, Diagnostic Radiologist, Dignity Health Imaging Center. “If a patient has a lesion that’s very anterior in the prostate gland, a clinical exam will never detect that lesion. But prostate MRI does reveal those difficult-to-detect anterior tumors and others, too.”
Should you have a prostate MRI exam?
Dr. Cox – an expert in the non-invasive study – has reviewed more than 1,000 prostate MRI studies during his career. During National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, he’s encouraging men ages 55–69 to talk to their physicians about whether prostate cancer testing is right for them. For men at high risk for prostate cancer – African-American men or males with a family history – discussions should begin between ages 40–54.
Men with rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in their blood and struggles with “urinary retention” are also candidates for prostate MRI. In addition to diagnosing cancer, prostate MRI detects other conditions, including:
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) – An enlarged prostate, which is most common in older males.
- Prostatitis – Inflammation or an infection of the prostate.
“Prostate MRI studies provide important information that physicians use to develop treatment plans,” explains Dr. Cox. “These studies pinpoint the tumor location, determine its size and show if the cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland.”