YOUR HEALTH: Finding prostate cancer sooner

Doctors say early detection will save more lives

SAN ANTONIO — When prostate cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent. 

But, when it goes undiagnosed and spreads, that percentage plummets to 30%. 

Ray Sousis found out he was at risk.

When his PSA, or blood marker for prostate cancer, suddenly went up, Ray was forced to slow down and confront the fact that he had prostate cancer.

"There's no way a normal biopsy would've gotten a positive biopsy on the cancer because it was nowhere near where it would have looked," explained Sousis.

"The fusion biopsy pinpointed exactly where it was."

Fusion biopsy is a new tool to pinpoint suspicious areas using ultrasound and MRI technology.

While the ultrasound can show areas that may or may not be cancer, it alone cannot accurately predict and find the prostate cancer. However, thanks to MRI images, it is possible for your doctor to get a better quality image and help identify any chance of cancer.  

His tumor was in the upper prostate an area frequently missed by traditional random biopsy.

"When the patient undergoes a fusion biopsy, the software, what it does, is it takes those images from the MRI and it starts comparing it to images on the ultrasound," explained Dr. Naveen Kella, a Urologic Oncologist with San Antonio's St. Luke's Baptist Hospital

Dr. Kella performed robotic surgery to remove the diseased tissue.

"I didn't want the conventional," said Sousis. 

"I don't mind taking risks. And going with something new. And especially if it's going to save my life."

Each year, 700,000 men with high PSA levels undergo repeat biopsies.

Although fusion biopsies are not available everywhere, Dr. Kella said it is worth asking your doctor about the procedure, especially if the risk in your family is high for prostate cancer.