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It’s important to catch prostate cancer as early as possible. Early detection improves your chances of beating the disease. Our cancer specialists perform comprehensive prostate cancer screening with an array of advanced tests. If we find that you have prostate cancer, we’ll provide the most accurate diagnosis possible so you and your doctor can decide on a personalized treatment plan.
We use four tests to screen for and diagnose prostate cancer:
DREs and PSA screenings are the first line of defense against prostate cancer. If these tests return a result that could indicate prostate cancer, your doctor may order a prostate ultrasound or a prostate biopsy.
For a DRE, your doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the back wall of the prostate. A normal prostate should feel soft, smooth, and round. Your doctor will feel to make sure your prostate has no:
These abnormalities don’t necessarily indicate prostate cancer. But if they’re present, your doctor may order more tests to be sure.
Prostate-specific antigen is a protein that your prostate produces as part of its normal function. Small amounts of PSA leaks out into the bloodstream, and we can detect it with a simple blood test.
High levels of PSA in the bloodstream could signify a few different prostate problems, such as:
Elevated levels of PSA don’t always mean a patient has prostate cancer. And patients can have low PSA levels and still have prostate cancer. That’s why it’s important for you to have both a PSA screening and a DRE for the best chance of detecting prostate cancer as early as possible.
In a prostate ultrasound, your doctor places a lubricated ultrasound probe into the rectum. This probe emits high-frequency sound waves that we use to create a picture of the prostate.
This test for prostate cancer lets us see how big your prostate is and if there are any visible problems with it. Theprostate ultrasound also helps us more accurately perform prostate biopsies, which we usually perform for questionable DREs or PSA screenings.
This prostate cancer test involves removing small pieces of tissue from the prostate. We look at these pieces under a microscope to see if they contain cancerous cells. The biopsy only takes about 15 minutes.
You’ll probably only feel mild discomfort during the test. There may be some bleeding afterward. Rarely, some patients have developed infections or experienced significant bleeding, swelling of the prostate, or difficulty urinating after a prostate biopsy.
If your biopsy is negative, that means we didn’t see cancer on the tissue we analyzed. But there still may be cancerous tissue in other parts of the prostate. Your doctor may order a repeat biopsy if your case is suspicious but your biopsy is negative.
Your best chance of beating prostate cancer depends on finding the cancer as early as possible. We use the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) recommendations for prostate cancer early detection.
The ACS’ recommendations for prostate cancer screening are as follows:
Depending on your PSA screening levels, you may need repeat screenings every year or every other year. You and your doctor can decide on the best plan.
If we detect prostate cancer, our pathologists (doctors who diagnose diseases) will determine the grade and stage of your disease. This allows us to determine what your options are so we can work with you on a personalized treatment plan. Your diagnosis will include both the grade and stage of your prostate cancer.
Cancer grading describes how abnormal or aggressive the cancer cells appear. A cancer’s grade helps our doctors predict long-term results, likely response to treatment, and chance of survival.
We use the Gleason scale to grade prostate cancer. This system assigns cancer cells a score of 1 to 10. The Gleason scale has three main levels:
Cancer staging describes how much cancer is present and where it is located. More cancer in the body means a higher likelihood of the cancer spreading. It also means treatment is less likely to be effective.
We use the TNM system to stage cancer, which describes three features of prostate cancer:
There are four main stages in this system: T1, T2, T3 and T4. Each one also has various sub-stages.
Characteristics of stage T1 prostate cancer include:
Characteristics of stage T2 prostate cancer include:
Characteristics of stage T3 prostate cancer include:
Characteristics of stage T4 prostate cancer include:
There are four stages in this system:
There are two stages in this system: