MRI and Prostate Cancer Testing

There are various approaches to treating prostate cancer, but deciding on the best one for treating a patient depends on a lot of other tests that are carried out. These are called screening tests, which help to determine precisely how far the tumor has grown and spread throughout the body, namely bone scans, MRIs and CT scans to view images of the inside of the body, and to revile the presence of tumors.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is really a medical diagnostic technique that combines strong magnetic fields, radio waves, and computer technology to create images of the body using the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance. Being an extremely versatile, powerful, and sensitive tool, MRI can generate thin-section computerized images of any part of the body ? including the heart, arteries, and veins ? from any angle or direction, and without surgical invasion. And the best part is that it can do all of this in a relatively short period of time, so that the patient may not have to stay too long in the hospital just so that it can be done.

An MRI also creates what has come to be termed as maps of biochemical compounds which give basic biomedical and anatomical information within any cross section of the human body. This information provides new knowledge that not only allows for the early diagnosis of many diseases, but significantly helps to determine how badly prostate cancer cells have invaded the body.

In more recent times, newer approaches to magnetic resonance imaging have remained acutely under study, especially for MRI devices that emit magnetic fields around a patient to produce cross-sectional images of the body. The existing typical MRI systems do not yield high-resolution maps of a prostate tumor. But when a patient also has an endorectal coil, a small emitter of electromagnetic waves, inserted into his rectum during the scan, the views that result can show whether, and how far, the tumor has grown past the prostate gland, which is a major plus, anyhow you choose to look at it.

In addition to the regular and improved MRIs, magnetic resonance spectroscopy may also be included, which measures metabolic activity in the area that is being observed within the scan. This is often done in order to further help distinguish between normal and cancerous tissues.

MRI has been around for a while, a general improvement on the technology of x-rays and radiology. New imaging procedures have been attempted in the medical community for the most part of the last forty years, utilizing energy sources other than ionizing radiation in order to ensure safety. The MRI today simply produces views that have been processed by a computer without presenting the same shadows that conventional x-rays do. These days, there is hardly a more determinate way to determine prostate cancer metastasis.

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