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New diagnostic tool speeds detection of prostate cancer

Brandon Reynolds, MD

Riverwood Healthcare Center has a new tool for diagnosing prostate cancer. UroNav® combines the benefits of a MRI with ultrasound to create a detailed, 3D view of the prostate.

By allowing physicians to see the prostate in this way, they can identify suspicious areas, and then target them for biopsy. This increases the likelihood of finding cancer if it’s present.

“The UroNav procedure with the MRI is safe and well tolerated,” said Dr. Brandon Reynolds, urologist at Riverwood who sees patients in Aitkin. “This technology helps us find prostate cancers that others can’t and produces a 30% improvement in the diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer.”

How the procedure works
A light-weight antenna is placed over the pelvis for the purpose of visualizing the prostate gland. This stays in place for the duration of the MRI.  The scan lasts for about 45 minutes. When completed, the patient is ready to go home.

The MRI will yield pictures that can identify lesions in the prostate that might be cancerous. If the MRI doesn’t find suspicious lesions, some patients may simply return to regular care and not have a biopsy.  Others may still require a standard biopsy.

If there is a lesion that’s of concern, the patient may be a candidate for a biopsy using UroNav. The procedure is performed while the patient is completely awake. There is usually no need for sedation, except for a local anesthetic delivered directly to the prostate area.

The benefits of UroNav include:

  • Provides a 3D view of the prostate, clarity that is otherwise unavailable
  • Incorporates a GPS-like system to guide the biopsy needle to suspicious areas
  • May reduce the number of tissue samples taken from the prostate
  • Improves accuracy
  • Reduces the risk of overlooking a tumor
  • Improves diagnosis, which leads to better treatment options and outcomes
  • Gives peace of mind

Biopsy results
The patient’s biopsy samples will be sent to a lab so that a pathologist can examine them under a microscope to see if they contain cancer cells. If cancer is present, the pathologist will also assign it a grade according to the Gleason system.

The higher the Gleason score, the more likely it is that the patient’s cancer will grow and spread quickly.

  • Cancers with a Gleason score of 6 or less are called well differentiated or low-grade.
  • Cancers with a Gleason score of 7 are called moderately differentiated or intermediate-grade.
  • Cancers with Gleason scores of 8 to 10 may be called poorly differentiated or high-grade.

For a urology appointment at Riverwood’s specialty clinic in Aitkin, call 218-927-5566.