An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to build up detailed pictures of the inside of the body. Your doctor may suggest this scan to help work out if a biopsy is needed. An MRI can be used to show whether the cancer has spread from the prostate to nearby areas. It can also help guide the biopsy needle.
A specialised type of MRI called mpMRI (multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging) is used for people suspected of having prostate cancer. This combines the results of three MRI images to provide a more detailed image.
Before an MRI scan, a dye may be injected into a vein to make the pictures clearer. You will lie on an examination table that slides into the scanner, a large metal cylinder open at both ends. The scan is painless but can be noisy and may take 30–40 minutes. Some people feel claustrophobic in the cylinder. Talk to your doctor or nurse before the scan if you feel anxious in confined spaces. Also let them know if you have a pacemaker or any other metallic object in your body. The magnet can interfere with some pacemakers, but newer pacemakers are MRI-compatible.
|The dye used in an MRI scan or CT scan can cause allergies. If you have had a reaction to dyes during a previous scan, tell your medical team beforehand. You should also let them know if you have diabetes or kidney disease.|
|Medicare provides a rebate for MRI scans, but there may be a gap fee. There is no Medicare rebate for PET scans for prostate cancer. Ask your doctor what you may need to pay.|
Dr Amy Hayden, Radiation Oncologist, Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals, and Chair, Faculty of Radiation Genito-Urinary Group (FROGG), The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, NSW; Prof Shomik Sengupta, Professor of Surgery and Deputy Head, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, and Visiting Urologist and Uro-Oncology Lead, Urology Department, Eastern Health, VIC; A/Prof Arun Azad, Medical Oncologist, Urological and Prostate Cancers, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Ken Bezant, Consumer; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare, and Clinical Strategy Lead, Oncology Australia, SA; A/Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics and The University of Western Australia, WA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, and HeadwayHealth Clinical and Consulting Psychology Services, NSW; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Western Australia; Graham Rees, Consumer; Kerry Santoro, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; A/Prof David Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW; Matthew Starr, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title. This booklet is funded through the generosity of the people of Australia.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.
Coping with cancer?
Support groups (face-to-face or telephone), forums and more ways we can help
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment