How is it diagnosed?
The growth rate of prostate cancer varies among men. In some men, it develops slowly and may not cause any problems in their lifetimes. In others it develops quickly and may cause severe pain and other complications – even death. There are several approaches doctor’s use to diagnose prostate cancer:
Digital rectal examination: This is the first step in diagnosing prostate cancer. The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate for hard, lumpy or abnormal areas.
Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) Test: PSA is a substance produced by both normal and malignant prostate cells. The presence of elevated levels of PSA in the blood is another test that helps to detect prostate cancer. Please consult your doctors on benefits and limitations of using PSA blood test for early detection.
Transrectal or transperineal ultrasound guided biopsy: A procedure in which an ultrasound probe about the size of a finger is inserted into the rectum to check the prostate. Images from the ultrasound probe guide the doctor in taking systematic sampling of the prostate. Tissue samples of the prostate are removed by a thin needle under a local anaesthetic and viewed under a microscope by a pathologist.
MRI Scan of the pelvis: A detailed scan of the pelvis that helps to identify the extent of cancer involvement in the prostate gland or surrounding lymph nodes.
Bone Scan: It helps to detect if the cancer has spread outside of the prostate to the bone. When prostate cancer spreads, bone is the most common place it affects. A small amount of safe radioactive dye is injected into a vein and then a scan is taken after two to three hours to pick up the “hot spots”, where the radioactive dye has been collected. These hot spots can show if the cancer has spread to the bone.