An MRI can detect abnormal growth, but it can't detect cell abnormalities like a biopsy can. A pathologist will examine the cells to determine if they are cancerous or not, and if cancerous, they can identify and grade the cells: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/prostate-biopsy/about/pac-20384734 An MRI can't determine the type or grade of cancer.
The MRI may be recommended on follow-up, particularly if the cells are determined to be cancerous, to identify additional areas where lesions may be present. There are some additional tests that you may want to discuss with your doctor: https://www.pcf.org/c/biopsy-things-you-need-to-know/
Ultimately, the decision to undergo tests is up to you, but if you plan to treat the cancer, if present, a biopsy is a must.
The MRI allows for more targeted biopsies, meaning you may not have to have as many samples taken.
As CurfewX said, the MRI can't determine the type of cancer, or the grade. This is really important as it determines your treatment options.
I hope you get some good news. Even if it's cancer, I hope it's early stages, and a slow-growing type. Keep us posted on how you are.
Hey, before you submit to a biopsy, ask your Dr. about getting a PHI test - stands for Prostate Health Index. It’s a simple blood test & you get results in a cpl days. This test is WAY more specific for prostate cancer than PSA - it combines PSA along w/ 2 other factors & the 3 together generate a number. If it’s under 24, you have less than 10% chance it’s cancer, over 55 means >50% chance. I’m a prostate cancer patient myself, had radical prostatectomy Jul 31, 2018. I had a high PSA but digital exam didn’t find anything, 1st Uro wanted to immediately do a biopsy, but like you, I was leery of side-effects, so I asked for the PHI, he referred me to his colleague for that. Unfortunately, my number came back very high (68), which indicated virtually 100% certainty of cancer, so I went ahead w/ the biopsy, which confirmed cancer, fairly advanced in my case, unfortunately. I don’t know why more Dr’s don’t immediately order the PHI & want to proceed immediately to biopsy. The PHI is quick, non-invasive & your insurance should cover the cost, which is way less than either biopsy or MRI. If your Dr. won’t do it, tell him or her you’ll see someone who will. Put your foot down & insist on this. There are a cpl other other similar blood tests that are more accurate than PSA alone, so if they don’t offer PHI, ask for one of those. Best of luck to you...
Hi, Mark. Your thinking is pretty much spot on. I know this is a month old, so I hope it worked out for you.
But if it's not over yet, I urge you to carefully read the PI-RADS report and don't just go along with the score number. If you're still around and reply, I'll tell you a story about that from when I was helping a relative last September. He was almost pushed into a biopsy, but it was a false alarm.
Overall you are correct: you should want the 3T *multiparametric* MRI first - not last. What that uro says is backwards.
If the MRI looks bad, then you use the MRI for an accurate fusion biopsy. Even a 1.5T (weaker magnet) MRI is better than a 'blind' TRUS biopsy, which is from the stone age. You can even get the MRI and the fusion biopsy done at different institutions, as long as you double check that they have compatible equipment.
If the MRI says benign or 'equivocal', then you probably have avoided the biopsy as you hope your PSA will go down.
"Biopsy side effects range from blood in the urine to not being able to urinate & a bunch of other stuff. "
Yep, including sepsis - which can be fatal.
"...if an MRI can fully determine prostate cancer."
Not exactly correct. It can see extremes of cancer versus not-cancer. It can see tissue that looks like inflammation.
I hope you're having good luck.
[first of all...thanx for all the knowledgeable replies]
my prostate MP 3T MRI scan results came in; & indicate "suspicious lesions".
my frickin' (old-school) urologist seemed to be reading me the riot act over the phone, telling me "I NEED A BIOPSY!" (as if to suggest I shouldn't have messed the MP 3T MRI in the first place). He was however open minded enough to suggest another urologist, who performs an MRI guided biopsy procedure, in the hospital, under general anesthesia.
so...I'm pretty damn apprehensive at this point...the new doctor needs me to come in for an appointment/consultation first...so as to establish myself as his patient (but doesn't have an opening until the end of the month). Don't like the delay...but unless I learn something different about this entire process...I guess I'm going that route
Mark, can you post the MRI report? There should be a sentence or two about each of the multiple 'sequences' done (which is why it is called 'multi').
Briefly, remembering from a year ago: Relative has episode of severe UTI with mild sepsis. PSA is 25 (not a typo). Uro does DRE and says, "I'm an expert, you have cancer". TRUS is scheduled to determine aggressiveness. I say, "Whoa, this could be just inflammation". I read up a little and quickly discover that the MRI + fusion biopsy is better. Uro wants TRUS biopsy done NOW, but consents to MRI, which happens in 4 weeks. By then, PSA is down to ~15.
I read the MRI report, finding various lesions, and then look up the PI-RADS V2 document from the ACR. One finding tended towards inflammation, another to inflammation or cancer. I seem to remember also that the 'ADC map' with high B-value should show high signal for cancer, but was instead low signal on the MRI report.
Here's the big kicker: the radiologist says at the end that "overall ﬁndings may be due to prostate cancer or prostatitis..." Then inexplicably rates this as PI-RADS 4.
PI-RADS™ v2 Assessment Categories
PIRADS 1 – Very low (clinically significant cancer is highly unlikely to be present)
PIRADS 2 – Low (clinically significant cancer is unlikely to be present)
PIRADS 3 – Intermediate (the presence of clinically significant cancer is equivocal)
PIRADS 4 – High (clinically significant cancer is likely to be present)
PIRADS 5 – Very high (clinically significant cancer is highly likely to be present)
Inexplicable... since it very much seems EQUIVOCAL, therefore should be a 3.
When asked to order another PSA to see if it's fallen further, Uro says, "What for? We already know there is cancer." It takes a couple of weeks to get a new Uro, who promptly orders a PSA which comes in at 2! When asked, the new Uro says he wouldn't have rated that MRI as PI-RADS 4. Voila, it's all over. All the delays turned out to be very fortunate in this particular case.
So whatever you may have, Mark, this type of happening is something to be aware of. I've come to think of it as patients being put all on the same conveyor belt -- everybody just gets moved along, moved along. For some it's good, for some it's not - but all get moved along the same generic way.
I wouldn't be satisfied with the Uro merely saying, "suspicious lesions".
I'd also take a look at that PHI test that BonzoDog talks about, if your MRI is (or should be) a PI-RADS 3.