Franciscan Health Cancer Center Munster now offering innovative prostate cancer scan

Franciscan Health Cancer Center Munster now offering innovative prostate cancer scan

Patients with suspected spread or recurrence of prostate cancer can now get a highly sensitive, state-of-the-art scan close to home.

Franciscan Health Cancer Center Munster is now offering Illuccix, a scan for men with prostate cancer or prostate cancer survivors with suspected spread or recurrence.

Illuccix is an advanced, injected imaging tracer used with a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to detect cancer cells in the body. When a patient has rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, a PET scan combined with Illuccix can give medical professionals critical information needed to determine the appropriate course of action.

Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a protein that is abundant on the surface of prostate cancer cells. PSMA is also found on cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body. Illuccix binds to PSMA to illuminate the protein on cancerous cells during PET scans anywhere in the body, making it easy to see.

This imaging can detect tumors that can otherwise be undetectable with conventional imaging. The technology can help healthcare professionals make more informed decisions about patient care at earlier stages of cancer.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in the U.S. with about 268,490 men being diagnosed each year and one in eight being diagnosed in their lifetimes. Cancerous prostate tumors often do not cause symptoms, making screening a critical tool for men’s health.

The American Cancer Society reports most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. More than 3.1 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives are still alive today.

Hematology and medical oncology physician Sueyi Lai, MD, said the new Illuccix scan offered in Munster outperforms conventional PET and other imaging such as CT and bone scans.

“We have the latest and best technology for prostate cancer screening and detection,” Dr. Lai said. “It’s wonderful that we have this here in Northern Indiana. We continue to strive to bring the best to our patients.”

Marjan “Mike” Muvceski, supervisor of nuclear medicine at Franciscan Health Cancer Center Munster, said the scan takes about 30 minutes and results can be ready in as soon as 24 hours. 

“That’s really important because when you’re waiting for information on a cancer diagnosis, every minute can feel like an eternity,” Muvceski said. “It feels good knowing we offer excellent care right here in our own neighborhood. Before we started offering this, some doctors were sending their patients down to Indianapolis or to Chicago. We’re really fortunate to have this technology here to help our patients.”

Trudy Smits of Cedar Lake said she is thankful the scan is available close to home for her husband, Carl, a prostate cancer survivor. Prior to the availability at Franciscan Health, the couple were going to have to travel to Chicago for the scan and needed to wait several weeks for an appointment.

“It means a tremendous amount,” she said. “We’re just thrilled it can be done in Munster and they got us scheduled quickly. We have had several appointments for CT scans, biopsies, you name it and the people at Franciscan in Munster are amazing, just so friendly and helpful. It’s just so obvious in all they do that they really, truly care.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Franciscan Health Cancer Center Munster at (219) 922-4095.