Diagnostic Tests for Prostate Cancer
Diagnostic Test list for Prostate Cancer: The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer includes:
- Digital rectal exam
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
- Urine tests - to check for blood or infection
- Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) blood test
- Transrectal ultrasonography
- Intravenous pyelogram
- Pathology analysis
Tests and diagnosis discussion for Prostate Cancer:
To find the cause of prostate
symptoms, the doctor takes a careful medical history and performs a
physical exam. The physical includes a digital rectal exam, in which
the doctor feels the prostate through the rectum. Hard or lumpy
areas may mean that cancer is present.
Some doctors also recommend a blood test for a substance called prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA levels may be high in men who have prostate cancer or BPH. However, the test is not always accurate. Researchers are studying changes in PSA levels over time to learn whether the test may someday be useful for early diagnosis of prostate cancer.
If a doctor suspects prostate cancer, he or she may recommend a biopsy. This is a simple surgical procedure in which a small piece of prostate tissue is removed with a needle and examined under a microscope. If the biopsy shows prostate cancer, other tests are done to determine the type of treatment needed.1
These tests are used to detect prostate abnormalities, but they cannot show whether abnormalities are cancer or another, less serious condition. The doctor will take the results into account in deciding whether to check the patient further for signs of cancer. The doctor can explain more about each test.
Digital rectal exam -- the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall to check for hard or lumpy areas.
Blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) -- a lab measures the levels of PSA in a blood sample. The level of PSA may rise in men who have prostate cancer, BPH, or infection in the prostate.
If a man has symptoms or test results that suggest prostate cancer, his doctor asks about his personal and family medical history, performs a physical exam, and may order laboratory tests. The exams and tests may include a digital rectal exam, a urine test to check for blood or infection, and a blood test to measure PSA. In some cases, the doctor also may check the level of prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) in the blood, especially if the results of the PSA indicate there might be a problem.
The doctor may order exams to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. These may include:
Transrectal ultrasonography -- sound waves that cannot be heard by humans (ultrasound) are sent out by a probe inserted into the rectum. The waves bounce off the prostate, and a computer uses the echoes to create a picture called a sonogram.
Intravenous pyelogram -- a series of x-rays of the organs of the urinary tract.
Cystoscopy -- a procedure in which a doctor looks into the urethra and bladder through a thin, lighted tube.
If test results suggest that cancer may be present, the man will need to have a biopsy. During a biopsy, the doctor removes tissue samples from the prostate, usually with a needle. A pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If cancer is present, the pathologist usually reports the grade of the tumor. The grade tells how much the tumor tissue differs from normal prostate tissue and suggests how fast the tumor is likely to grow. One way of grading prostate cancer, called the Gleason system, uses scores of 2 to 10. Another system uses G1 through G4. Tumors with higher scores or grades are more likely to grow and spread than tumors with lower scores.2
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to diagnosis of Prostate Cancer:
- 44 men unsure of whether they have prostate cancer due to biopsy problems
- Cancer deaths take over deaths caused by heart disease
- Need for unnecessary prostate cancer may be reduced with new risk assessment technique
- Overweight men risk having their prostate cancer misdiagnosed
- Prostate cancer incidence increasing in Nigerian men
- Prostate cancer prognosis may be predicted by measuring levels of beta-catenin
- Prostate cancer risk reduced in diabetics
- PSA tests are not as “useless” as the inventor claims
- Women too are at risk of lung cancer
1. excerpt from Prostate Problems - Age Page - Health Information: NIA
2. excerpt from What You Need To Know About Prostate Cancer: NCI
Last revision: June 12, 2003
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