The dirty little secret that is kept from most of us when we receive primary treatment for prostate cancer is that there is a recurrence rate approaching 33%. This amazingly high rate is consistent no matter what primary treatment is elected. Radiation, surgery, HIFU the rates are the same, about 1/3 of us will experience a prostate cancer recurrence! Given this fact it is easy to understand the constant fear we live under when we finally understand the odds of having a recurrence.
In the situation where we do have a recurrence the fear levels are notched even higher if we are unable to identify where the cancer is located because our scanning technology is not sensitive enough to “see” the tumors. Not seeing them does not mean that they are not there. In some situations, early detection of where the cancer is growing can be critical to our chance of beating it on a second round. If we can’t “see” it we can’t treat it.
Scanning technology has made great leaps in the last two to three years. MRIs are stronger and contrasts are better at disclosing the hidden cancer tumors that can characterize a prostate cancer recurrence. At the Mayo Clinic they have developed a new scan contrast that is specific to detecting prostate cancer, including the tumors that are yet too small to be seen by traditional methods.
Prostate cancer uses choline, a B-complex vitamin, as a building block. When a minute amount of radioactively labeled choline (choline C-11) is injected