VOORHEES, N.J., June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- South Jersey Radiology Associates (SJRA), the region's only Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence™, is revolutionizing prostate cancer screening for men by putting non-invasive 3T magnetic resonance imaging technology into the hands of the best imaging specialists.
"3T MRI is a huge game-changer," says Dr. Gregory J. Goodworth, MD, DABR, a Body Imaging Specialist at SJRA. The Siemens Skyra 3T MRI, which Dr. Goodworth calls, "the best platform for imaging the prostate," produces remarkably detailed images of the gland, revealing potentially significant cancers while preventing undue concern over nonaggressive lesions. The Skyra is available in South Jersey only at SJRA.
By putting this powerful, non-invasive technology in the hands of award-winning, highly skilled radiologists, SJRA is taking prostate cancer screening to a more refined level than was previously possible.
Other radiology groups might use 3T MRI, but they, "don't use the technology as well as we do. We can make our magnet do things that [others] can't," Dr. Goodworth says.
Because the 3T magnet is so powerful, the procedure does not require the invasive endo-rectal coil that 1.5T MRI machines require. Patient comfort – and willingness to undergo the imaging procedure – is dramatically improved. And there is no radiation exposure with MR imaging.
For all these reasons, Dr. Goodworth predicts the non-invasive prostate scan will be as widely known as the mammogram or colonoscopy in the very near future.
The first prostate MRIs were performed more than 15 years ago using 1.5T machines. (T, for Tesla, refers to the unit of measurement quantifying the strength of a magnetic field.) Besides requiring the invasive, endo-rectal coil, the 1.5T machines produced images that were "not very specific or sensitive," Dr. Goodworth says. "If there was a big tumor, you might see it, but rarely would you see small disease." By comparison, the 3T MRI's powerful magnet allows imaging of very small body parts at very high resolution, down to a few millimeters.
He compares the evolution of 3T MRI to cell phone cameras. "Your first cell phone had a low-megapixel camera that produced low quality, grainy images," Dr. Goodworth says. "Compare that to cell phone cameras today and the crisp, high-resolution images that they produce."
Before MR imaging of the prostate became available, urologists had just three tools available to evaluate prostate disease in men: the digital rectal exam, the PSA test (a blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen), and the transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy. In the latter procedure, needles are inserted through a rectal probe into the prostate to sample areas of the gland. Dr. Goodworth notes that this highly invasive procedure is also highly inaccurate because about 80% of the prostate gland goes completely unevaluated. With our 3T MRI, "I can see the whole prostate gland, including those areas that transrectal biopsy needles can't reach," he says.
For patients who have had prior negative biopsy results but are at risk for developing cancer, 3T MRI allows monitoring of prostate changes without subjecting the patient to repeated biopsies. And for patients with high PSA levels or a non-life threatening prostate tumor, 3T MRI is a very powerful tool for avoiding overtreatment and the related potential risks from surgery or radiation, such as incontinence, pain, and erectile dysfunction, Dr. Goodworth adds. This is particularly important, since most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will not die from it.
3T MR imaging of the prostate is available at SJRA's Turnersville and Voorhees offices. For appointments, call 1.888.909.SJRA (7572) or visit www.sjra.com and click on the 24/7 appointment badge.
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SOURCE South Jersey Radiology Associates