Continued research allows for advancements in cancer care on a daily basis. Every year we gain a deeper understanding about cancer – what causes it, who is at risk, and how we can better diagnose and treat it more effectively. As with other types of cancer, prostate cancer receives its own share of research dollars and new developments continue to surface that speak to better forms of detection and treatment. So as we start a new year, what’s new on the forefront of prostate cancer care?
One newer development that is being talked about is a new version of MRI that has shown considerable promise in detecting prostate cancer tumors. Called restriction spectrum imaging MRI, this new imaging technology has shown greater accuracy in the detection of prostate cancer tumors as compared to traditional MRI technology. Of course, greater accuracy in detection allows for greater accuracy in treatment as the tumor location can be clearly and precisely identified. As a result, a more effective treatment plan can be put in place.
With current MRI methods, the patient is injected with contrast dye and the MRI then looks at how blood flows in the area of concern. Blood flow is increased in areas where there is cancer tissue because cancer tissue typically requires more blood. However, this is not always an effective indicator because there is not enough differentiation in blood flow between heathy tissue and cancer tissue.
The restriction spectrum imaging MRI, however, measures the diffusion of water rather than blood flow. Because cancer tumor tissue is more dense than healthy tissue, it is not able to permeated as easily by water. This new technology has shown great promise in being able to identify – and better treat as a result – prostate cancer. Better imaging techniques are a significant part of cancer care and the medical community continues to look for new and better ways to help diagnose disease faster and more accurately.