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Medical Technology Improves Prostate Screening

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in American men. About 180,000 patients are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and regular screenings are one of the best ways to detect it.

With September being National Prostate Health Month, it is a good reminder to schedule an annual prostate screening. While the thought of a screening might make some men uneasy, improvements in technology and prostate imaging have greatly improved this process.

Initial prostate screening starts with a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam conducted by a urologist. If the blood test or exam results in abnormal findings, imaging of the prostate is an appropriate next step.

A Prostate MRI scan is one of the best mechanisms for imaging of the prostate and for detection of prostate cancer. This high level imaging can help direct treatment and biopsies, as well as monitor the effects of current treatment. It can also provide surveillance for men monitoring their cancer and not undergoing treatment.

Prostate MRI image guidance and higher definition imaging allows for better cancer detection. Radiologists (medical imaging specialists) now can use the high quality MRI image to identify the most suspicious or affected area of the prostate. This information can help the treating Urologist target the area of a subsequent biopsy or avoid an unnecessary biopsy.

Some men may remember invasive and uncomfortable probes from the past which were a necessary part of prostate imaging on older MRI devices. Because of advances in technology in the Siemens Magneton Aera MRI system, Prostate MRI imaging can be performed without these invasive probes.

The MRI device in the Siemens Magneton Aera MRI system is also more comfortable than a traditional MRI unit. The unique design of the unit has double the amount of space around the patient and is shorter in length. Consequently, for the majority of procedures, a patient’s head and upper body can remain outside the bore of the device.

Barton Urologist Brian Steixner, MD, recommends that all men start annual prostate screenings at age 50. Men who have a significant family history or other risk factors of prostate cancer should start being evaluated at age 40.

You can learn more about Barton Health's new Siemens Magneton Aera MRI system and Prostate MRI imaging by calling Barton Medical Imaging at 530.543.5850 or you can schedule an appointment for an annual prostate screening with Barton Urology by calling 530.543.5400.


Dr. Paul Knight is a board-certified radiologist at Barton Health and is certified by the American College of Radiology in the use and interpretation of Prostate MRI imaging. Barton offers full service urology and prostate cancer screenings, evaluations, and treatment options.