SIU Med School, St. John’s Hospital Use MRI for Accurate, Painless Prostate Cancer Detection


April 7, 2014

SIU med school, St. John’s Hospital use MRI for accurate, painless prostate cancer detection


Drs. Vincent Zata and Shaheen Alanee

Men undergoing an evaluation for possible prostate cancer now have access to an advanced technique to manage the disease: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the prostate. The MRI program is a new partnership of a urological oncologist from Simmons Cancer Institute School of Medicine and radiologists from St. John’s Hospital.

MRI of the prostate is developing as a powerful tool to better detect cancer within the prostate. It also allows for safe, conservative management of prostate cancer in cases of low volume, low risk cancer tumors. Undergoing a painless MRI creates a more accurate diagnosis while being less invasive than the traditional ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate.

“There is increasing evidence that using the MRI before a biopsy can accurately identify patients who require immediate biopsies and those who could be deferred,” said Dr. Shaheen Alanee, head of Urologic Oncology and assistant professor of surgery at SIU. Alanee recently trained at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “The partnership with St. John’s radiology brings more accurate monitoring to the Springfield area. Our findings are already detecting cancer in areas a biopsy did not.”

Alanee and St. John’s radiologist Dr. Vincent Zata have taken special training in France to read these prostate MRIs. They have been amazed at how much more accurate the findings are than the traditional biopsy. Based on MRI findings, prostate biopsies may still be needed. St. John’s may purchase equipment to computerize the biopsy process.

“The potential of MRI in prostate cancer detection and management seems unlimited,” Zata said. “As the technology develops, more uses for MRI are being identified. It’s not too far in the future that we may be able to substitute prostate biopsy with a combination of blood tests and MRI imaging, thus saving our patients the discomfort of an invasive procedure.”

A free information event about active surveillance for prostate cancer will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, at the Dove Conference Center, Prairie Heart Institute at St. John’s Hospital, 619 E. Mason St. in Springfield.

Media Contacts

Karen Carlson,
SIU, 217-545-3854


Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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