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Knowing More About Prostate Biopsy


A biopsy is the removal and microscopic examination of pieces of tissue or organ from a living patient. It is used to diagnose certain kinds of disease including cancer. The goal of a prostate biopsy is to test for cancerous cells in the prostate glands of men. When high levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) are found in a blood test, a biopsy of the prostate is performed to confirm or deny the presence of cancer. It may also be conducted after a rectal exam has reported anomalies in prostate lobe shape or size.

It is usually an outpatient procedure with only half of the patients reporting discomfort during the procedure. It only requires a local anesthetic and it can be performed through the rectum, urethra or perineum. The best method is transrectal, through the thin walls of the rectum, where a thin needle is inserted into the prostate gland to extract the cells.

After the procedure, the patient may experience some blood in the urine or ejaculate and he will have to make sure to take the antibiotics prescribed by the doctor to prevent any infection. The samples are analyzed to detect any cancerous cells. It is possible that more biopsies have to be taken after the initial one if cancer is found to be present. Additional biopsies can aid in targeting and pinpointing the cancerous cells in a procedure called prostate mapping.

Before the Exam

After it has been agreed upon that a biopsy is necessary, you must consult with your doctor regarding any issues that may of be a concern related to the test. Some of these issues may be medications that are being taken, any allergies to medications, and bleeding problems.

Your doctor needs to be informed of any medicine that is a regular occurrence and also if there is any blood thinning medication. This is a sensitive area and the needle may cause some bleeding in the rectum when the samples are removed so every precaution must be taken. It is not unusual for an enema to be delivered just before the procedure. With any type of procedure you will have to sign a consent form knowing that you are aware of the procedure and those side effects that may occur.

The prostate biopsy is one of the definitive exams to test for prostate cancer. It may be an uncomfortable procedure but it has and will continue to save lives.


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