For years, his Prostate Specific Antigen blood test results were well within the normal range of lower than 4.0 ng/ml.
But within one year, he said, the numbers jumped from “normal to very abnormal” — to 7.2.
“An office biopsy indicated cancer,” said Frantom, 68. “But not how bad it was or if it had spread.”
That’s when Frantom learned about a new procedure that would provide a precise diagnosis and pinpoint cancerous lesions on his prostate.
It’s called the multi-parametric MRI, or mpMRI. It is said to improve risk assessment and biopsy accuracy.
“It’s the latest in urology,” said Dr. Steven Sukin of Texas Urology Specialists. “For years, the standard of care was if you had a high PSA and an abnormal prostate exam, we would recommend a prostate biopsy. But now we have new technology that we are using at Houston Methodist Hospital to try to identify the exact location of suspicious lesions. For the first time, rather than doing biopsies that are patterned all over the prostate, we can target specific areas.”
Houston Methodist is one of the first hospitals in the nation to offer high intensity focused ultrasound, HIFU, for patients with localized prostate cancer.
The fusion of MRI, biopsy data and real-time ultrasound imaging allow urologists to treat prostate cancer with less damage to healthy tissue and minimizes side effects such as incontinence and impotence.
Sukin said patients who have elevated PSAs and have had a regular biopsy that was negative continue to be followed, but this can result in multiple, repeat biopsies — making men nervous about following up with their urologist but at the same time not wanting to miss a possible cancer diagnosis.
The mpMRI avoids repeated biopsies. Patients can choose to be sedated or undergo full general anesthesia during the procedure.
Men 50 and older should undergo prostate-cancer screening annually or every other year; younger if there’s family history, Sukin said.
“I’m often able to reassure many patients who come in with a high PSA that everything is fine,” he said. “Forty to 50 percent end up having a reason that doesn’t require the next step of a prostate biopsy or MRI of the prostate.”
Frantom’s results showed that cancer cells did not exist outside the prostate. He is currently undergoing radiation that specifically targets the lesions revealed by the mpMRI.
Frantom is grateful for this modern technology, but also for being vigilant about his annual checkups.
“It’s your health. You can’t feel it. It’s hidden,” Frantom said of his prostate cancer. “If you don’t get it checked, you’ll never know if it’s going to kill you or not.”
Original Article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/lifestyle/renew-houston/health/article/New-technology-brings-precision-to-prostate-14276879.php#photo-18020046