Biopsy For Prostate Cancer – A definitive diagnosis test

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Diagnosing prostate cancer is far from being a straightforward procedure because there are often many things to look out for. Keeping it as simple as it can be, most diseases that affect the prostate have similar symptoms when they appear – pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, and erectile dysfunction when they start, and worse as the disease progresses. As a result, most of these other prostate disorders have to be eliminated first before the doctor would go ahead and check for this cancer.

In any case, the definitive prostate cancer diagnostic test is the prostate biopsy. In order to carry out a biopsy for this cancerous tumor, the specialist would often first go through a series of screening tests – such as the DRE and PSA (digital rectal examination and prostate specific antigen) tests which are meant to justify the biopsy- or not. If the DRE shows that there is a lump or some irregularity with the prostate gland, and the PSA test reveals a higher level in the blood than is considered safe (anything over 4.0ng/ml is considered to be indicative of a disease and dangerous), they will more than likely do the biopsy.

To carry out the biopsy of the prostate gland, a tissue sample will have to be extracted from the prostate via a needle inserted into the organ, usually through the rectum of the patient. It is often a painless procedure with minimal risk to the patient. Most times a local anesthetic is used, and it can all be done in the doctor’s office. The needle in question is a special hollow core needle that is hardly ever longer than six inches. There may be some discomfort to the patient but this does not happen too often.

The tissue thus extracted is examined underneath a microscope to observe for any deviations of the extract from normal prostate gland cells. The biopsy also has the ability to help distinguish a benign tumor from a malignant tumor, so that the urologist or oncologist will know whether treatment is needed or not. If the tumor is deemed cancerous, the specialist will have to grade the disease based on the degree of variation. On a scale of 1 to 5, the most deviation (or mutation) is 5, and the least gets a ‘Gleason’ number of 1. This score is awarded both to most abnormal cells observed and to the least mutated cells. Adding these two numbers together provides the Gleason score for the patient’s disease.

The Gleason score gotten from the biopsy virtually goes all the way to determine also if the cancer require a mono therapeutic approach or something more aggressive due to the nature of the cancer’s own aggression.

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