Friday, July 22, 2011

Advanced MRI pinpoints prostate tumors

By providing insight into tumor activity, an advanced prostate MRI exam can help doctors select appropriate treatment.

Prostate MRI images

Compared with conventional and diffusion-weighted
MRI images (left) DCE (dynamic contrast enhanced)
MRI images (right) provide additional information that
helps doctors locate and understand prostate-tumor
activity.

One in six men will be affected by prostate cancer in their lifetimes, according to some estimates. As with most cancers, early detection and appropriate treatment are critical to successful outcomes.

To provide doctors with the most accurate information, Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging is now providing advanced prostate MRI exams. These exams use a special form of MRI called DCE (dynamic contrast enhanced) MRI, which looks at how your body's tissues absorb a contrast material over time. Because tumors act differently than normal tissue, this can help to pinpoint and characterize tumor activity. Sophisticated image-analysis software helps radiologists to interpret the MRI results.

The exam helps radiologists to better understand prostate tumors—their size and shape, how they change over time, and most importantly whether they are benign or malignant. This detailed information helps your doctor select the most appropriate and effective treatment, which may range from adopting a wait-and-see approach to taking more urgent action.

Prostate MRI exams are conducted using a 3T MRI on Mass General's main campus in Boston. Early morning and afternoon appointments are available. A doctor's order is required to schedule an exam.

This article was updated in May 2017.

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