August 19, 2019
Tests Help Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease, Recurrent Prostate Cancer
Cheyenne, WY—Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Wyoming to offer two medical imaging procedures that can help confirm Parkinson’s disease and suspected prostate cancer recurrence.
DaTscan is a noninvasive imaging test that can differentiate Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonian syndrome from an unrelated condition known as essential tremor. Essential tremor results in a noticeable tremor that can mimic the symptoms of parkinsonian syndrome, which includes Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy.
DaTscan is administered by injecting the patient with a trace amount of an imaging agent and then having the patient undergo a SPECT scan. The test confirms if proteins affiliated with having parkinsonian syndrome are present in the patient’s brain.
“It can be challenging to differentiate parkinsonian syndrome from other conditions, such as essential tremor,” said Casey Robinson, director of Cheyenne Regional’s medical imaging department. “While the symptoms are similar, treatment and prognosis differ greatly. Having another diagnostic tool to help physicians distinguish these conditions can be tremendously helpful in reaching an appropriate and timely diagnosis for patients.”
Axumin is used to detect and pinpoint recurrent prostate cancer through the use of a “tracer” imaging agent that concentrates inside cancerous tumor cells. When the patient undergoes a PET/CT scan, the tracer shows up inside the cancer cells.
“Both of these tests are potential game-changers for patients seeking more timely and accurate diagnoses and treatment for these two conditions,” Robinson said.
In the case of prostate cancer, elevated blood levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can indicate that the cancer has returned.
“With the use of standard imaging technology, it can be hard to detect where the cancer is and if it’s spread,” Robinson said.
Axumin can be used to detect cancer and locate its presence in the body, even at relatively low PSA levels, “providing the advantage of time and accuracy for treating the patient,” Robinson said.
The other advantage is that Axumin can detect recurrent prostate cancer in multiple areas of the body with the use of only one medical imaging scan.
According to the Wyoming Department of Health, prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Wyoming. Additionally, up to one-third of men treated for primary prostate cancer will have a recurrence within 10 years, and one-third of those men will develop metastatic disease within eight years.
More than a dozen men have undergone the Axumin test at Cheyenne Regional since the hospital began offering the test late last spring.
“We know of several recurrent prostate cancer patients who traveled out of state to have the Axumin procedure done,” Robinson said. “Thanks to the support of our executives, medical staff and medical imaging leadership, this important test is now available to our patients, close to home.”
DaTscan is another diagnostic test that Wyoming patients recently had to travel out of state to receive.
“It was important for us to make this test available locally to ensure our community and region have in-state access to vital medical care,” Robinson said.
More than 1,400 Wyoming residents have Parkinson’s disease, and nearly 1 million people will be living with Parkinson’s disease in the United States by the year 2020.
“The availability of Axumin and DaTscan represents a significant step forward for diagnosing and treating patients in our area,” Robinson said.
Community members who want more information about these tests should talk to their healthcare providers.