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Prostate cancer diagnosis

If your healthcare provider believes you may have prostate cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

He or she will also give you a physical exam, including an exam of [related body parts]. You may have one or more of the following tests.

  • Blood test

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests are used to screen for prostate cancer in men without symptoms. Based on the results of this test, your doctor may recommend additional tests to better understand your condition and form a diagnosis.

  • Imaging tests

    Transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy of the prostate. If results from you PSA blood test or physical exam findings suggest you may have prostate cancer, a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy of the prostate may be performed to assess for the presence of prostate cancer. This is a test where a small probe is lubricated and placed in your rectum. The probe gives off sound waves that enter the prostate and creates an image of the prostate for the doctor to examine and to facilitate biopsy to remove tissue to be examined by a pathologist under a microscope. This procedure is often finished in less than 10 minutes, and it can be completed in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic.

  • Biopsy

    If results from your PSA blood test or physical exam findings suggest you may have prostate cancer, a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy of the prostate may be performed to assess for the presence of prostate cancer. This is a test where a small probe is lubricated and placed in your rectum. The probe gives off sound waves that enter the prostate and creates an image of the prostate for the doctor to examine and to facilitate a biopsy to remove tissue to be examined by a pathologist under a microscope. This procedure is often finished in less than 10 minutes, and can be completed in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic.

  • Test results

    Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.

  • Second opinions

    When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.

    Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent prostate cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.

    Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the one and only NCI-designated cancer program in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including prostate cancer.

    Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.

    Should I get a second opinion?

    A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating prostate cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:

    • You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
    • A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
    • There may be uncertainty around the stage of prostate cancer.
    • You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
    • Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.

    Questions to ask when getting a second opinion

    After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:

    • Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
    • Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
    • Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
    • What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
    • What are the side effects of treatment?
    • How long are treatment recovery periods?