Regular MRI Exams May Lead to Less Invasive Prostate Treatments
An integral part of managing men’s health is to undergo regular check-ups to screen for prostate abnormalities. A new research study has found that including prostate MRI Exams as part of this process can help manage men’s health issues through observation, obviating the need to resort to more invasive treatments.
MRI Early and Often
Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine recently published the results of a study that found a positive association between frequent prostate MRI exams and observation of low-risk prostate cancers. Scientists found that using prostate MRIs in the diagnosis of low-risk tumors led to patients having their conditions managed through observation in lieu of more invasive treatments at a rate of nearly two to one.
The study itself pulled information from more than 8,100 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. 8.7 percent of those patients received prostate MRIs with observation. Meanwhile, 4.5 percent of patients who received MRIs were followed up with treatment instead. In other words, almost double the patients that had prostate MRIs as part of the diagnostic process received that diagnosis early enough to treat their conditions with just observation.
Cost and Benefit Implications
MRI exams can be costly from the viewpoint of a health provider. However, the research team found that if more men’s health patients were examined through MRIs to diagnose prostate tumors earlier, the benefits of early detection, which would include being able to avoid more invasive (and expensive) treatment methods by substituting mere observation instead, would more than even out.
Using MRI exams to diagnose low-risk prostate cancers, the researchers added, would bring significant improvements to the quality of cancer care. Even in the face of higher initial costs for conducting MRIs and then analyzing results, the long-term benefits are significant and could benefit the entirety of men’s health care.