What Happens in the Course of Prostate Cancer Biopsy

May 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Test

Urologists or doctors can conduct some tests to find out if you have prostate cancer. The need for such tests could be due to complaints of urinary problems, pains on the lower back, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, etc. Sometimes, the tests may be conducted because you suspect you are likely to be diagnosed of this condition.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) are usually the first tests to be conducted. PSA test is a blood test to check for elevated level to PSA in the body. A high level of this protein-like substance produced by the prostate gland could be an indication that the person has prostate cancer. Digital Rectal Exam is the procedure whereby a lubricated gloved finger is inserted into the rectum to feel for abnormal size of the prostate gland.

Both PSA Test and DRE can give inconsistent results, hence prostate biopsy is conducted. A biopsy is test whereby some tissues of the prostate are removed and observed under a microscope. The tissues are taken through the use of transrectal ultrasound imaging. In this, several needles are guided through the rectum to remove tissues of the prostate.

Biopsy can be uncomfortable despite its benefit of providing better results than PSA Test and DRE.

Here are highlights of what happens in the biopsy process

Before biopsy is conducted by the doctor you need to do the following:

  • inform the doctor of any medication you have been taking and also inform him of any other condition you have
  • You need to discontinue the intake of some medications for sometime. Drugs like Persantine, Coumadin, and other forms of blood thinners should be avoided, or your doctor can prescribe best alternatives for you. In addition, aspirin and other forms of anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided before biopsy. All of these medications can affect the result. However, your doctor must be in the know of what you are taking and what you should avoid.
  • In the morning of the procedure, you should take light breakfast and drink clear liquid.
  • Evacuation of bowel may be required and the doctor can enforce this by the use of enema.

During the biopsy procedure

Your prostate tissues are taken through an ultrasound probe. The time taken is usually between 10 to 20 minutes. You are going to lie by your side while this is done. You may feel slight discomfort in the process and some kind of pain reliever would be given to you.

After the biopsy procedure

  • the extracted tissues would be taken the lab for analysis
  • the result will be available( at least a week after the biopsy)
  • You may notice some traces of blood in your semen, stool, or urine a few days after the procedure.
  • Your doctor can offer you antibiotics and other post biopsy care tips.
  • Drinking six to eight glasses of water can help in flushing out the urinary system for you.

Conclusively, with the highlights above you now understand what to expect during tissue biopsy to detect the staging of prostate cancer.  Consult a certified urologist for detailed information on the procedure.

Prostate Cancer Screening – The PSA Test and DRE Screening

May 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Test

The symptoms of prostate cancer usually involve difficulties associated with passing out urine and having ejaculations. Pains, blood, fatigue, etc are also some of the signs associated with or that can affect individuals who are experiencing the growth of cancer from their prostate glands.

Some of these symptoms are also associated with some other conditions that can affect the prostate. For instance, when the prostate gets enlarged, gets infected, or experience what is referred to as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), these symptoms can still appear.

The question now is this, what test or screening is to be done to really diagnose cancer of the prostate cancer separately from other similar conditions? This article is going to throw some light on two popular screening procedures usually prescribed for men that are to be diagnosed of cancer of the prostate.  These are the PSA test and DRE screening.

  • PSA Screening – this is a kind of blood test that tends to examine the amount to PSA in the blood. PSA stands for prostate Specific Antigen. It is an enzyme or protein substance usually secreted by the prostate gland. An elevated amount of PSA is usually found in the blood of men with prostate cancer.

The PSA test has not really been accepted as a standard screening procedure for cancer of the prostate. This is because of a lot of faulty positive results that may often occur. However, it can help to doctors to determine if the patient has elevated amount PSA in the blood.

  • DRE Screening – DRE refers to Digital Rectal Exam. It is a screening procedure in which the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to feel any lump of enlarged prostate. The need for this exam is based on the fact that prostate cancer can result in the enlargement of the prostate gland.

DRE still has some issues as it may ignore other symptoms and misdiagnose other conditions. However, it is still a good screening option applied to test for prostate cancer in men.

The combination of PSA and DRE can yield better result as screening procedures to detect early cancer of the prostate. However, others screening procedures like the carrying out of tissues biopsies can be used to provide a more authentic diagnosis.

Finally, PSA and DRE, despite not yielding the best of results as prostate cancer screening, are still very important aspect of prostate cancer diagnosis today.  Talk to your doctor about the screening tests for prostate cancer today.

The Importance Of The PSA Test In Prostate Cancer Screening

At one time in what looks like a distant past a prostate cancer diagnosis was tantamount to a death sentence because the disease was not often discovered until it has had the chance to advance into the later stages. Even in these modern times, a delayed diagnosis could mean death for the patient because advanced prostate cancer cannot be cure – only treated. To that end, a lot of effort has been placed in ensuring early diagnoses of patients who are besotted with prostate cancer.

The fact that there are no symptoms in early stage prostate cancer certainly does not make matters very much easier, with improved and more widespread screening and screening tests, up to 90% of all prostate cancer cases in the United States today are diagnosed early, says the American Cancer Society, at a time when the cancer is both treatable and curable.

One of the screening tests that are used in the screening efforts to detect prostate cancer early is the PSA test, one that a lot of Americans must have heard about at this time, even if they have not experienced it. The PSA test reads the amount or volume of prostate specific antigens (PSAs) in the blood of the patient in order to determine the presence of ailments in the organ. Most men have PSA in their blood at all times, but its level in the body is usually below the critical 4.0ng/ml. 

Prostate cancer cells cause the production of more PSA that are seeped into the blood, as a result when a man suffers from the carcinoma, higher levels of this enzyme are found in his blood and the disease is immediately suspected. That’s right, higher blood PSA levels do not imply that a man has prostate cancer because a lot of other ailments, especially those that affect the prostate gland, also result in PSA spikes. That is why the PSA test is merely a screening and not a diagnostic one. In order to confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy of the prostate gland may be necessary.

The PSA level of a patient however takes on more importance once the cancer has been confirmed – it becomes sort of an indicator of the severity of the patient’s suffering and how far the cancer must have spread. Of course to determine this, other staging tests have to be carried out to determine how much the disease has metastasized, but the results often have to be merged for the best results.

People should be warned that the PSA test is by no means a conclusive one. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the patient could merely be suffering from some other infection or disorder to have a higher PSA level; and in converse, there are actually some manifestations of prostate cancer that do not cause PSA rises, such as small cell sarcomas. A man at risk of prostate cancer would need to be rather more vigilant.

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