Prostate Cancer Screening and Diagnosis
Prostate cancer affects as many as one out of every nine American men. Specialists at The Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center recommend shared decision-making between men and their urologists to determine if screening is right for you. If a screening test indicates something of concern with your prostate, our doctors use the latest methods to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Screening advancements in recent years have resulted in a decreasing number of unnecessary biopsies.
Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
In its earlier stages, prostate cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms. Prostate cancer screening helps detect even the smallest changes which could indicate cancer is present. Your doctor may recommend one of several screening methods, including:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE): Doctors perform this prostate exam to identify cancerous changes, such as hard areas or bumps, on your prostate. During a DRE, your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to manually feel your prostate for changes.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: A small sample of your blood helps your doctor measure PSA levels in your body. For many men, an elevated PSA level is the first sign of prostate cancer.
- Blood and urine tests: In addition to PSA, we now have other reflex tests available such as percent free PSA, PHI (prostate health index), and 4K score. These tests help doctors risk-stratify patients and decrease the number of unnecessary biopsies.
In recent years, prostate cancer screening has been controversial due to the possibility of overtreatment. Fortunately, there have been many discoveries and advancements, including those highlighted above, that have improved the way we screen, diagnosis, and treat patients.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
If a screening test indicates you may have prostate cancer, your doctor will discuss performing a prostate biopsy.
- Prostate biopsy: During this minimally invasive procedure, doctors remove tiny samples of the prostate for further evaluation in a laboratory. Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is used during this procedure to help guide doctors to specific areas of the prostate. TRUS involves the insertion of a small ultrasound probe into your rectum.
- MRI/ultrasound fusion-guided prostate biopsy: This is a two-step process where a patient first undergoes an MRI test of the prostate. A radiologist evaluates the images and identifies and marks any suspicious areas for further evaluation. The urologist then fuses the images with real-time ultrasound images, producing 3D images of the suspicious areas that are then targeted during the biopsy. Read more about Englewood Health’s use of MRI/ultrasound fusion-guided biopsy.
If you’ve received a prostate cancer diagnosis, you may wonder which prostate cancer treatment options are available to you. The oncology team at Englewood Health plans your treatment based on your unique medical history, symptoms, and stage of the prostate cancer. Learn more about prostate cancer treatment.