By Virginia ‘Ginya’ Carnahan, APR, CPRC
Dattoli Cancer Center & Brachytherapy Research Institute
We hear it all too often: “My PSA is rising, but thank goodness the biopsy was negative!”
This finding could be what is known as a “false negative,” and could be far more dangerous that if the biopsy had come back positive.
At the Dattoli Cancer Center we have seen men who have had as many as 6 or 8 biopsies over time in an attempt to discover what is making their PSA rise – each biopsy coming back as “negative.” Frustrated, these men eventually come to us to definitively find their cancer so that it can be treated. In this repeat biopsy process, they have endured multiple invasive procedures and let precious time slip by. Time, of course, is of the essence in finding prostate cancer because the longer the cancer grows, the more difficult it will be to defeat.
We have a not-so-secret weapon when it comes to biopsies. From day one at this Center we have utilized 3-D color-flow power Doppler ultrasound as a unique tool for guiding biopsies. (Routine random sample biopsies performed across the U.S. are essentially blind – in that the physician removes a set number of tiny core samples from the four quadrants, base and apex of the prostate gland with no means of guidance. The result can reveal only the status of the cells in those few tiny cores. Meanwhile, prostate cancer can be growing anyplace within the bulk of gland not sampled by this method.)
You may have heard of Doppler in relation to weather forecasting. You can recall seeing the large, menacing red section on a national weather map when a storm is imminent. We are able to visualize a similar “storm” within the prostate with 3-D color-flow power Doppler ultrasound. In our case, the motion of abnormal blood flow within the prostate gland shows up as bright red and becomes the target for a biopsy core. Abnormal blood flow is indicative of tumor growth, because cancerous tumors require blood to grow.
In recent years color-flow Doppler ultrasound technology has also found applications in other medical settings, such as prenatal exams, breast cancer evaluation and circulatory issues.
Over the years, Dr. Michael Dattoli has had phenomenal success in finding the active prostate cancer sites in those men whose PSA continues to rise despite repeat negative biopsy findings. 99% of his follow-up 3-D color-flow power Doppler ultrasound guided biopsies have located cancer, and allowed the man to finally begin treatment to defeat the disease.
In addition, the 3-D color-flow power Doppler ultrasound is extremely efficient in ruling out prostate cancer in men who are first experiencing a rising PSA. It is a genuine relief for these men to receive a true negative biopsy report. (PSA rises can be caused by things other than cancer, such as prostatitis, prostate injury or even intercourse within 48 hours of the PSA blood test.)
We live in amazing times. New technologies bring new knowledge. In the field of prostate cancer, the past decade has seen great progress not only in the treatment of prostate cancer, but also in the all-important step of diagnosing.
Readers who would like to know more about 3-D color-flow power Doppler ultrasound are invited to call us for a free copy of our 50-page booklet, “Color-flow Doppler and Advanced Imaging for Prostate Cancer.” Men who are struggling to determine if their PSA rise is indeed coming from prostate cancer are encouraged to call our office to inquire about a definitive biopsy using color-flow Doppler ultrasound guidance.
A free telephone consultation is offered to men who have been diagnosed and are researching the right treatment option for their particular prostate cancer.
1-877-DATTOLI | www.dattoli.com