Lawrence + Memorial is now one of the first hospitals in the state to offer a new and often superior form of prostate cancer screening through the use of state-of-the-art MRI imaging and MRI-guided prostate biopsies.
“We are one of, if not the only hospital in Connecticut currently offering this technology,” says Dr. Anthony Quinn, a New London urologist who helped initiate the program. “This is truly cutting edge.”
The new MRI service not only saves patients the hassle of traveling out of the area for advanced MRI imaging, it could also save a life, Dr. Quinn explains.
"The ability of the MRI to see areas of the prostate not seen on standard imaging such as ultrasound is incredibly valuable,” he says. “Sometimes, life threatening cancers can ‘hide’ in areas not usually sampled with ultrasound-guided biopsy. The ability to identify and then to accurately biopsy any suspicious areas will allow us to diagnose and treat these cancers years before they would have otherwise been found.”
At L+M, Drs. Arun Basu and Louis Mazzarelli of the Radiology Department spent more than a year creating the new MRI program. “This program is state-of-the-art,” says Basu. “MRI imaging of the prostate means that, for many patients, we can identify cancer faster and with more accuracy, and that means your doctor can begin a faster and, therefore, more effective course of treatment.”
Basu notes that prostate cancer is one the most common malignancies in the United States, with more than 230,000 men diagnosed with prostate carcinoma each year, including nearly 30,000 men who die from the disease annually.
The L+M program was formed after Dr. Quinn noted that some of his patients were required to travel to Boston for MRI testing; these same patients often faced the additional inconvenience of returning to the city a second time for an MRI biopsy. The collaboration between local L+M-affiliated urologists and L+M radiologists led to the formation of the new program.
“Dr. Quinn and his entire team, including Drs. Richard Fraser and Steven Schoenberger, really pushed for this service, and we were happy to make it happen,” Dr. Basu said. “We have also had enthusiastic support from urologists at Westerly Hospital, including Drs. Erik Enquist and Frank Leddy.”
The new MRI testing is available at L+M’s Crossroads Imaging Center, where L+M has a state-of-the-art 3.0 Tesla MRI imaging magnet. If necessary, MRI-guided biopsies are conducted at L+M Hospital.
Some of the specific uses for MRI technology in relation to the prostate include: examining the entire prostate when suspicion of cancer remains after a standard ultrasound biopsy; determining if prostate cancer is present outside of the prostate, and precise monitoring of a patient’s cancer during treatment.
Dr. Basu encourages physicians to call or refer patients to the program when appropriate. “If we can help facilitate the care of your patient or patients, please feel free to contact L+M’s Radiology Department at (860) 442-0711, Ext. 2608,” he said. “We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns.”