New research confirms that an innovative procedure combining MRI and ultrasound to create a 3D image of the prostate can more accurately locate suspicious areas and help diagnose whether it’s prostate cancer. Using specialized equipment needed, physicians at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center began using the fusion biopsy procedure about three years ago for its ability to blend live ultrasound images with captured MRI images. The fused image creates the 3D model, and flags anomalies that could be areas of concern. That helps guide urologists in taking biopsies to determine whether cancer is present. UT Southwestern’s early adoption of the cutting-edge technology allowed researchers to report on the superior diagnostic performance of this novel approach compared to traditional methods for diagnosing prostate cancer. Furthermore, these researchers have partnered with colleagues in Brazil to conduct follow-up studies that now show the technique consistently improved detection of clinically significant prostate cancer under a wide variety of conditions, even when radiologists were using different equipment and protocols. “In the past, we diagnosed prostate cancer by random biopsies of the prostate in men with elevated PSA values. With fusion biopsy, we actually find more cancer, we can differentiate between dangerous tumors and less aggressive tumors, and, in some cases, we perform fewer biopsies,” said Dr. Daniel Costa, Assistant Professor of Radiology and with the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC) at UT Southwestern. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men, after skin cancer. Prostate cancer risk increases with age, with most cases occurring after age 60.
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