New Advances in Prostate Cancer Screening Prostate Saturation Biopsies

Prostate Cancer treatment specialist Dr. Gregory Echt is excited about a procedure called Prostate Saturation Biopsy which will provide much better information on whether a man has prostate cancer than the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test which can be elevated with no cancer found and leaves men with significant concern as to if they have a malignancy or not.

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Dallas, TX (PRWEB) February 5, 2010

Prostate Cancer treatment specialist Dr. Gregory Echt is excited about a procedure called Prostate Saturation Biopsy which will provide much better information on whether a man has prostate cancer than the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test which can be elevated with no cancer found and leaves men with significant concern as to if they have a malignancy or not.

The standard prostate cancer screening process usually begins with an annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. This routine blood test is a sensitive, yet nonspecific tumor marker. It can pick up abnormalities readily within the prostate gland, yet an elevated PSA does not always indicate that the patient has cancer. Frequently, patients are being followed and the PSA is rising yet no cancer has been found. That leaves many men with significant concern as to if they have malignancy or not.

"That isn't something that we want," says Dr. Gregory A. Echt of the Prostate Seed Institute in Dallas. "We want to be able to give definitive information when we can. A PSA level can be elevated in men with benign prostate issues, which is why we can't rely on the PSA alone in diagnosing prostate cancer."

When patients are suspected to have prostate cancer, the next step is a biopsy. Typically that is a transrectal ultrasound-guided needle biopsy performed in the doctor's office, or occasionally in an operating room. "That is less invasive than the procedures done a number of years ago," says Dr. Echt. "But this new one is even more accurate."

Dr. Echt is excited about a procedure called Prostate Saturation Biopsy, which Medicare has recently begun paying for. Saturation biopsies are only done for high risk patients who have had prior biopsies that were non diagnostic and concern exists for cancer. It is not done routinely for first time biopsies. With the transrectal ultrasound-guided needle biopsy, there can be pain associated with the procedure, although urologists frequently use Lidocaine to decrease the discomfort. During the procedure, 12 biopsies are usually obtained, but there can be a geographic miss and an underlying cancer that is not found.

"Prostate saturation biopsies are done in the operating room, which offers the benefit of a general anesthesia, so there is no pain during the procedure," says Dr. Echt. "And we eliminate the small risk of infection associated with the transrectal biopsies. Instead of having to pierce the rectal wall, the prostate saturation biopsy is done across the perineum."

Utilizing an ultrasound probe in the patient's rectum, the doctor performing the procedure can visualize the gland and perform a thorough mapping. Dr. Echt says that he will typically biopsy 8 specimens at the top of the prostate gland or the base, 10 in the mid gland and 6 at the apex or bottom. "Then we will take approximately 12 more biopsies scattered throughout the prostate gland to make sure we have excellent and thorough sampling."

Another benefit is the fact that recovery from the prostate saturation biopsy is usually quicker and easier for patients. The procedure takes about 30 minutes to perform, and patients are sent home approximately 60 minutes after they are awakened, without the encumbrance of a Foley catheter as with other types of procedures.

Dr. Echt believes that this new screening process is also considerably more precise than others. "We are able to take so many samples for testing than with other procedures, that we miss less," he says. "In our experience, approximately 50-60% of patients who undergo prostate saturation biopsies have been found to have prostate cancer. On the surface those can be scary numbers, but if the cancers are being found earlier and earlier, the treatment success ratio increases tremendously."

Dr. Echt utilizes the prostate saturation biopsy techniques at his clinics, http://www.prostateseedinstitute.com , in the Dallas area, and he encourages men to talk to their doctors about this type of evaluation.

Facts About PSA Tests:

Patients are felt to have abnormal PSAs if they are younger than 50 years of age and the PSA is greater than 2.5 ng/mL. That is true for men younger than 60 with a PSA greater than 3.5 ng/mL, and men younger than 65 with a PSA greater than 4.0 ng/mL. Other suspicious findings would be a palpable nodule in the prostate gland or the PSA that was normal last year starting to rise.

About the Author:
Gregory Echt, M.D., radiation oncologist, leads radiation oncology programs at Las Colinas Cancer Center in Irving, Medical City Hospital in Dallas, and North Texas Cancer Center of Wise in Decatur. He also provides prostate seed implantation treatment in private surgery centers across the north Texas region. In addition, he is involved in clinical research for prostate cancer advancements.

Echt graduated from Indiana University and earned his medical degree at Indiana University School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. He is board-certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology, has published numerous articles, and is active in many medical societies.

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