An emerging treatment option for men on active surveillance: non-invasive MRI-based genetic testing

Many men with prostate cancer are placed on active surveillance because they do not want to undergo surgery or radiation therapy. Active surveillance, or monitoring, means that men must undergo regular biopsies and imaging studies in order to monitor their cancer, and if it spreads, they must take measures to try to stop the spread early. MRI-based genetic testing may help physicians identify high-risk cancers that would otherwise go undetected by traditional testing methods. Here’s how MRI-based genetic testing works and why it might be an emerging treatment option for men on active surveillance.

How it works

MRI-based genetic testing is a new, non-invasive way to screen for prostate cancer. The test uses an MRI machine to take pictures of the prostate gland, and then uses a computer to analyze the images for signs of cancer. The test is currently only available at a few centers around the country, but it is becoming more widely available as more insurance companies begin to cover it.

Advantages over current guidelines

  • MRI-based genetic testing is a non-invasive procedure that can be used to identify men who are at risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer.
  • This test is more accurate than the current guidelines, which rely on PSA levels and DRE results.
  • MRI-based genetic testing can be performed on an outpatient basis, making it more convenient for patients.
  • This test is less expensive than other procedures, such as biopsies, that may be recommended under current guidelines.
  • MRI-based genetic testing does not require anesthesia or sedation, making it a safer option for patients.

When to use this new risk assessment tool

MRI-based genetic testing is a new risk assessment tool that is being used more and more to help men on active surveillance make decisions about their treatment options. This test is non-invasive, meaning it does not require a biopsy, and can be done at any time. It is also relatively inexpensive and has a high success rate. Additionally, MRI-based genetic testing can provide more information than other risk assessment tools, such as PSA levels or Gleason scores. This new tool is not perfect, but it is an emerging option that may be helpful for some men on active surveillance.

How much does it cost?

The cost of this new treatment option will likely vary depending on the facility you go to and the specific test that is being performed. However, overall, the cost is not exorbitant and is actually quite reasonable. The average price for a basic MRI scan is around $500, while more sophisticated tests can run upwards of $1,000. So, while this new treatment option may not be free, it is certainly affordable for most people.

What’s the next step?

If you’re a man with prostate cancer, you may have heard of Active Surveillance. Active Surveillance is a treatment option in which men closely monitor their cancer with the goal of delaying or avoiding more aggressive treatment. Now, there is a new emerging treatment option for men on Active Surveillance: non-invasive MRI-based genetic testing.

Non-invasive genetic testing can be performed using a specialized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). With DTI, no radiation is used to perform the test and there are no known adverse side effects. The test results take approximately two weeks to come back and deliver information about your cancer that may not be apparent by other means. Currently, DTI is FDA approved only for use in evaluating degenerative spinal diseases such as arthritis. However, as more and more evidence emerges supporting its effectiveness in cancer detection and prognosis, it’s likely that it will become more widely used throughout many different areas of healthcare.

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As men age, their risk of developing prostate cancer increases. However, not all prostate cancers are created equal. Some are more aggressive and require immediate treatment, while others are slower growing and can be monitored with regular checkups (a process called active surveillance). For men on active surveillance, a new treatment option is emerging: non-invasive MRI-based genetic testing.

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