Men having one or more definite symptoms of prostate cancer can go for screening themselves. Following are some diagnostic test for prostate cancer:
Digital rectal exam (DRE)
In this examination, the doctor examines the prostate gland by inserting the fingers gloved and lubricated inside the rectum of the male as we know that prostate glands are adjacent to the rectum. If the doctor senses some kind of abnormality in the prostate glands like change in texture, size, or shape of the gland, then he recommends you to go for further detailed testing.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
In this type of testing, the doctors draw a blood sample from the vein in the arm and go for testing. Then the doctors look for the prostate-specific antigen in the blood, which is generally secreted by the prostate gland, and a smaller amount of this PSA substance is present in the blood. If there are higher levels of PSA in the bloodstream, then it indicates that you might have a prostate infection, enlargement, inflammation, or cancer.
Even after the DRE and PSA testing, there are doubts about the stage and severity of cancer in the glands, so doctors go for the transrectal ultrasound imaging. The doctor inserts a small cigar like a probe in the rectum of the patient to evaluate the prostate glands. The probe creates the image of the gland by using sound waves.
MRI is a technology that fuses images from the MRI scanning and the transrectal ultrasound scans to form a 360-degree prostate image. MRI mapping also helps in doing the biopsy of the patient to screen the stage of prostate cancer further.
When the doctors confirm the presence of tumor in the prostate glands, then the next step is to check whether the cancer cells are present in the glands or not. In this procedure, the doctor collects the sample of the cels from the prostate glands by inserting a thin needle in the gland. Then the collected tissue sample goes into the laboratory to determine the number and spread of the cancer cells.
Grading of prostate cancer
After the determination of the presence of cancer cells in the prostate gland, the grading process comes next. In the grading process, the doctors determine how aggressive are the cancer cells. A pathologist takes the sample of cancer tissues for examination. The high grading of cancer shows a higher degree of aggressiveness of the cancer cells, and also, there are more chances of spreading cancer to nearby cells.
The scale used to assess the grade of prostate cancer cells is known as the Gleason score. In Gleason scoring, the biopsy tissue samples undergo an examination to develop the range of non-aggressive, marking number 2 to the most aggressive marking number 10.
Determination of the spread of cancer
To determine the extent to which prostate cancer is affecting the nearby organs and organs, doctors recommend one of the following scanning tests:
- Bone scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
- Computerized tomography (CT)