A number of tests are used for diagnosing prostate cancer. Here are some of the most common tests suggested by doctors.
It is yet not proved that healthy men with any symptoms for prostate cancer can be tested. Most medical organizations don’t agree on the screening issue. As per the recommendation of some medical organizations, men are recommended prostate cancer screening in their 50s, or even sooner for men with risk factors for prostate cancer.
You can discuss your specific situation and the benefits and risks of screening with your doctor. This will help the medical professional determine if prostate cancer screening is right for you.
Prostate Screening Tests
These may include:
Digital rectal exam (DRE) – During a DRE, your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to examine your prostate, which is adjacent to the rectum. If your doctor finds any abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the gland, you may need further tests.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) Test – It involves driving a blood sample from a vein in the patient’s arm and examined for PSA, a substance that's naturally produced by your prostate gland. Although it is normal for blood to have PSA to be in your bloodstream. However, if a higher than normal level is found, it may indicate prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.
A Combination of DRE and PSA Testing – It can identify prostate cancers at their earliest stages.
Diagnosing Cancer of the Prostate
In case, a PSA or DRE test identifies an abnormality, the doctor may recommend further tests for determining the presence of prostate cancer. These include:
Ultrasound – The doctor may make use of transrectal ultrasound for further assessing your prostate. This is done only when other tests raise concerns. , Most doctors use a small probe, about the size and shape of a cigar. It is inserted into the patient’s rectum. The probe makes use of sound waves for creating a picture of your prostate gland.
Collection of Prostate Tissue Sample – In case, initial test results propose prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend a procedure for collecting a sample of cells from your prostate (prostate biopsy). A prostate biopsy is mainly conducted via using a thin needle and inserted into the prostate for collecting tissue. Thereafter, the tissue sample is assessed carefully in a lab for determining the presence of cancer cells.
MRI Fusion – This test can assist in prostate biopsy and diagnosis. Top robotic surgeons for prostate are also recognizing this as an effective modern assessment tool.
Determining the Spread of Cancer
There are certain tests that can determine whether prostate cancer is aggressive or has spread to other parts. The tests are required only after a biopsy confirms the presence of cancer. It determines the grade of cancer cells. A sample of cancer is examined by a laboratory pathologist for determining how cancer cells differ from healthy cells. The higher grade indicates that the cancer is more aggressive and can spread quickly.
Gleason Score – This is the most common scale used for evaluating the grade of prostate cancer cells.
Genomic Testing – The test is widely being used for assessing risk more effectively and detecting aggressive prostate cancer.
Determining the Spread of Cancer
The following tests are used for identifying how far cancer has spread:
– Prostate Transrectal Biopsy
– Transrectal Biopsy of the Prostate
After the diagnosis of prostate cancer, the doctor will determine the extent (or stage) of cancer. In case, the spread of cancer beyond prostate is confirmed, the patient may be recommended one or more of the following imaging tests:
– Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
– Bone scan
– Computerized tomography (CT) scan
– Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)