For successful treatment of prostate cancer, it is important to get it diagnosed at an early stage. Many different tests are recommended to detect the cancer. Many men have a transrectal ultrasound combined with a prostate biopsy. Others are recommended an MRI scan. Some of the other common tests include:
Transrectal Ultrasound Scan (TRUS)
This is precisely an examination of the prostate gland. The process uses ultrasound.
This type of scan creates pictures with the help of magnetism and radio waves. The scan is very effective in highlighting abnormal areas of the prostate gland.
Transrectal Ultrasound Guided (TRUS) Biopsy
The test is used by doctors to diagnose prostate cancer. Samples of tissue are taken from the prostate gland to search for cancer cells.
This is a targeted or template biopsy. The test is used to diagnose cancer of prostate. You might It is usually recommended when the patient has had a negative prostate biopsy, but the doctor still suspects cancer.
In most cases, prostate cancers are found during screening with the following:
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
- Digital rectal exam (DRE)
When cancer is suspected based screening results or symptoms, tests are required for confirming diagnosis. The patient requires going through the following for getting diagnosed properly:
Medical History and Physical Exam
In case, the doctor suspects prostate cancer, he or she will ask the patient about any symptoms observed such as sexual or urinary issues and how long the patient has had them. Family history will also be asked.
The doctor will examine using a digital rectal exam (DRE) after putting on gloves. The lubricated finger is inserted into the patient’s rectum to feel any hard areas, bumps on the prostate. When cancer is suspected, DRE helps detecting if it’s just one side of the prostate or both sides. Other parts of the body are also examined by the doctor.
PSA Blood Test
Doctors recommend the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test for prostate cancer in patients without symptoms. The test is also the first one prescribed for men with symptoms that might be caused by cancer of prostate.
Usually, men who do not have prostate cancer show PSA levels fewer than 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. As the level of PSA goes up, the chance of having prostate cancer also increases.
Prostate cancer makes the PSA level go above 4. However, a level below 4 is not a guarantee for the non-presence of cancer. Research reveals that around 15 per cent of men with a PSA below 4 may show prostate cancer on a biopsy. Men with a PSA level ranging between 4 and 10 are known to have around 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. For PSA more than 10, the chances prostate cancer is more than 50 per cent.
For a biopsy, some doctors advise PSA 4 or higher. On the other hand, some may recommend it starting at a lower level (2.5 or 3). Some of the other factors affecting this decision include:
- Family history
Men who have just been diagnosed with prostate cancer may be recommended PSA test combined with physical exam results as well as tumor grade (determined on the biopsy). This helps in deciding whether other tests such as bone scans or CT scans are required needed.
An integral part of the staging (defining the cancer stage), the PSA test can help determine if cancer is likely to be confined to the prostate gland or spread to other areas. Very high PSA level indicates that the cancer is vulnerable to spread beyond the prostate.
PSA tests make for a crucial part of monitoring prostate cancer during and after treatment.
Imaging tests are recommended by experts at the best prostate cancer treatment center for detecting prostate cancer. These include:
- Bone Scan
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Lymph Node Biopsy
Also referred to as lymphadenectomy or lymph node dissection, the test includes removal of one or more lymph nodes to see if these have cancer cells. The test is used for finding out if the cancer has spread from the prostate to neighboring lymph nodes.