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Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:01 am

PROSTATE PROGRESS

 Men, welcome to the future: A developing technology that would make prostate biopsies far less invasive is coming to Springfield. Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and St. John’s Hospital announced this week that they have begun training to use magnetic resonance imaging, commonly known as an MRI, to detect cancer within the prostate. St. John’s radiologist Dr. Vincent Zata and Dr. Shaheen Alanee, head of urologic oncology and assistant professor of surgery at SIU, recently traveled to France to receive specialized instruction on using the new technique, and they say the digital images are much more accurate than the traditional method. The old way, which may still be needed in some cases, involves sticking a thin needle up the rectum or urethra, or poking it in through the area between the scrotum and the rectum; it’s no fun any way you cut it. While the new MRI technique won’t replace the preliminary prostate exam usually done by your primary care physician, it will mean that if the doctor finds some cause for concern, the follow-up may not involve a thin needle in your nether region. It’s just one of the many amazing medical technologies being developed or adopted in Springfield. For more information on prostate cancer, check out a free talk at 5:30 p.m. on April 15 at the Dove Conference Center, Prairie Heart Institute at St. John’s Hospital, 619 E. Mason St.

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