Satellite mapping-type technology improves prostate cancer discovery, treatment

From BJC Today, Sept. 21,2015

by Gerald Andriole, MD
Chief, Division of Urologic Surgery

Gerald Andriole JrDr. Gerald Andriole Jr.BJWCH — Thanks to a satellite mapping-like system guiding doctors to the precise location of where cancer can be found in the prostate, more men are receiving the most advanced treatment of this kind at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital.

It’s called MRI-guided fusion biopsy and it allows us to target the biopsy in the most suspicious area and see exactly where the cancer is. And the entire procedure only takes about 15 minutes.

BJWCH is the only hospital in the region with this technology. It’s been in place for about a year. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, and my team and I see about 1,000 patients a year. The chances of a man getting prostate cancer are roughly equivalent to his age. For example, a 70-year-old-man has about a 70 percent chance of having the disease.
The prostate is a walnut-size gland found only in males. It is located below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate’s job is to make fluid that nourishes sperm.

Men in their late 40s should begin getting screened for prostate cancer. But if there is a strong family history, with two or more first-degree relatives, such as a brother or father, or if a man is African-American, there is a higher potential risk and screening should begin by age 40.

September is National Prostate Health Awareness Month. And while there are no magic bullets for preventing prostate cancer, I recommend that if a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, active surveillance along with lifestyle changes can be the best approach. Many times, prostate cancer is a very slow-growing disease and some men might never need treatment. In those cases, active surveillance means taking a PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, blood test every three months and getting an MRI and follow-up fusion biopsy every year to see if there is any growth.

As for lifestyle changes — more exercise, healthy diet, whole grains and vegetables, and less grilled meat are all beneficial to better health but not proven in preventing prostate cancer.

Also consider adding these to your diet:

  • Omega 3 — This fatty acid can be found in fish, such as tuna, trout, sardines and salmon. Studies have found that eating a low-fat diet and taking fish oil supplements slows the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Lycopene — This antioxidant can be found in red foods, like tomatoes and watermelons. The redder the better, so go for the vine-ripened tomatoes — they’ll have more lycopene. Studies show that men who eat these foods have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t.
  • Zinc — Fortified breakfast cereal, cashews, chicken and oysters are ways to include this mineral in your diet. Supplements have been shown to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer as well.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gerald Andriole or another specialist, call 314-542-WEST (9378) or toll-free 844-542-9378.

Dr. Gerald Andriole is a Washington University urological surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish and Barnes-Jewish West County hospitals.