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Home Guides Imaging Prostate Cancer - Imaging Options

Prostate Cancer - Imaging Options

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A new study highlights the inappropriate use of expensive imaging studies in prostate cancer.  In the proceedings of the 2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, Sandip Prasad reports on the study:

About 36% of men with low-risk prostate cancer underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer-assisted tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) imaging studies, said Sandip Prasad, MD, a fellow in urologic oncology at the University of Chicago Medical center.

"The chances of finding relevant disease outside the prostate in these patients on one of these scans is less than one percent," Prasad told MedPage Today at his poster presentation. "We think that the percentage of patients getting these exams should be 0%."

Similarly, Prasad said than no men diagnosed with intermediate prostate cancer should be getting these diagnostic scans - yet in his study based on Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER-Medicare) governmental database showed that 49% of men diagnosed with this type of prostate cancer underwent one of the screening tests.

While those tests may be wasteful of scarce resources, Prasad said he was more concerned that 39% of men diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer - and for whom guidelines recommend additional screening tests - did not receive any of these studies.

"All of these men should have received the tests," Prasah said. "Our numbers should have been 0%, 0% and 100% for the high risk patients. Instead we saw 36%, 49% and 61%. These are troubling figures."