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Doctor explains new, more accurate method for diagnosing prostate cancer

Dr. Brummet said the innovative method he uses in conjunction with urologists to diagnose prostate cancer at St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City can result in better outcomes for patients. (KRCG)

Doctors say an early and accurate diagnosis can make a significant difference in the fight against cancer. In this week's Family First, KRCG 13 spoke with SSM Health Radiologist Dr. David Brummet about how urologists and radiologists are using new technology to diagnose prostate cancer.

Dr. Brummet said the innovative method he uses in conjunction with urologists to diagnose prostate cancer at St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City can result in better outcomes for patients. He explained biopsies are used by urologists to confirm the presence of prostate cancer; but in years past, the technological limits of the biopsy procedure didn't always allow physicians to make definitive diagnoses.

"I would estimate the old type of prostate biopsies picked up cancer maybe half the time," he said. "But with our new 'guided' prostate biopsy procedure, we can pick up the tumor maybe 80 percent of the time."

First, Dr. Brummet said he takes MRI's of patients who may have prostate cancer. "I look at the MRI images, and use specialized software to do that. And then I mark on the images, or annotate on the images, where I think tumors are located."

Next, Dr. Brummet said his edits are overlaid on top of the images urologists see in "real-time" during a prostate biopsy, giving them a sort-of road map for the procedure. He said the super-focused guidance his annotations provide for the biopsies results not only in a more accurate diagnosis, but in less pain for patients. "We do the procedure in the surgery suite. There, the patient is provided better sedation, so it's less painful overall," he said.

Dr. Brummet said diagnosis is only the first step in the fight against prostate cancer; however, he said because it's a cancer that will affect one in nine men, an increase in accurate diagnoses could mean everything for millions of men around the world and here in mid-Missouri.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, signs of prostate cancer include: difficulty starting urination, weak or interrupted flow of urine, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder completely, pain or burning during urination, blood in the urine or semen, and pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away. Dr. Brummet said if patients experience any of these symptoms, they should speak with a urologist or with their primary care doctor.

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