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Biopsy and Other Tests

If an elevated PSA and abnormal result is found from the DRE, the physician will follow this up with a biopsy. The point of these tests is to determine the spread of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body from the prostate. This will affect the types of treatments appropriate for you.

A biopsy is a procedure that takes around 15-20 minutes where the physician and nurse will take a tissue sample of the tumour. You will be given a local anesthetic (a medication to numb pain) and use a specialized needle guided by precise ultrasound to remove tissue samples. These tissue samples will be sent to the lab to definitively confirm and stage the tumour/cancer.

The physician may also order different imaging tests including an ultrasound, MRI or a CT scan. These help physicians to precisely determine the disease state. In general, these scans are used for:

  • Ultrasound – used for general imaging
  • MRI – used to see the size and location of the cancer within the prostate; it is usually followed up with biopsies to determine whether it is cancerous or not
  • CT scan – used to see if the cancer has spread outside of the prostate

Using these results, the doctor can diagnose if you have prostate cancer.