Mecklenburg Radiology

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer refers to any cancer affecting the prostate gland, an organ in the pelvis which
serves to help produce semen in men. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and
affects 1 out of 7 men between the ages of 45 to 75 years of age. It is the second leading cause
of cancer deaths in the United States after lung cancer. Prostate cancer can metastasize, or
spread, to multiple organs, including the bones, lymph nodes, and lungs.


How do we diagnose Prostate Cancer?

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a powerful tool for diagnosing and following prostate cancer. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of the prostate gland. MRI does not use or produce radiation and is not associated with radiation risks or effects.
Bone scan:
A bone scan is a special type of radiologic study in which a small quantity of a radiotracer is injected into the patient’s bloodstream and allowed to be absorbed the bones and other organs. Prostate cancer metastases typically produce bone and absorb a greater amount of the radiotracer than normal bone.
CT Scan
Computed tomography, or CT scans, can be used to follow prostate cancer and detect metastases. CT scanners use a series of x-rays and powerful computers to create 2 and 3-dimensional images of the body.
PET/CT is a special technique used to stage prostate cancer and is particularly useful in patients with metastases. Positron emission tomography utilizes abnormal uptake of modified amino acids (fluciclovine F-18, also known as Axumin) by prostate cancer cells in conjunction with a CT scan to show sites of disease. This technique is more sensitive for finding metastases than CT alone.

How do we treat Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is usually treated by a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, surgeons,
radiation oncologists, and radiologists. Most types of prostate cancer require chemotherapy or
immunotherapy under the supervision of an oncologist. Some cases of renal cell carcinoma are
treated by surgery, which usually requires removing part of or the entire prostate. Radiation
oncologists, in conjunction with a urologist, can treat both prostate tumors and metastases
with beam radiation or radiation releasing “seeds” placed at the time of prostate surgery.
Radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians can treat bone metastases from prostate cancer
with a noninvasive technique called Xofigo (radium 223 dichloride). This compound is taken up
by bone cells and kills metastatic prostate cancer cells with a small targeted dose of radiation
without damaging normal nearby cells. The goal of this treatment is to target the metastases
while avoiding the whole-body effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.