Imaging techniques are essential in cancer diagnosis and treatment, but their use remains limited in prostate cancer surgeries. Systematic prostate biopsies locate cancerous tissue and guide treatment. While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can yield greater insight into tumor characteristics, the extent to which it improves treatment outcomes needs a national scale.
The new research demonstrates that MRI may significantly reduce postoperative complications but remains under-utilized in many areas of the United States.
Overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and toxicity associated with treatment are significant problems with prostate cancer surgeries. However, MRI can help reduce unnecessary biopsies and improve surgical outcomes. While MRI is a tool that changes the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, the chance of getting a preoperative prostate MRI varies significantly depending on where you live, what race you are, and the year you were diagnosed.
In analyzing Medicare claims linked to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, a cancer registry representative of the United States population, the study authors found significant postoperative benefits for patients who received MRI. They identified a reduced likelihood that cancerous cells might remain in the patient after the operation (a “positive surgical margin”) and reduced odds of blood transfusions at 30 and 90 days after the procedure.