digital rectal exam, in which the doctor inserts a
gloved finger into your rectum to feel your prostate gland. Some prostate
tumors can be found this way.
PSA test to measure the levels of prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) in your blood. A higher level of PSA may indicate an enlargement,
infection, or cancer of the prostate. A rising PSA level after treatment for
prostate cancer can mean your cancer has come back.
A transrectal ultrasound, in which the doctor inserts a probe into your rectum to check your prostate. The probe uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create a picture of the prostate.
prostate biopsy, in which tissue is taken from your
prostate and examined under a microscope. The other exams and tests
can give clues that you may have prostate cancer, but only a prostate biopsy can
tell for sure.
If you have had prostate cancer before, one or more tests
will help your doctor see if your cancer has come back or spread. These may
Like other forms of cancer, the prognosis for prostate cancer depends on how far the cancer has spread at the time it’s diagnosed. Doctors use a system of classification called staging to describe prostate cancer’s local extent and evidence of spread.
Prostate cancer stages can be complex and difficult to understand. WebMD takes a look at prostate cancer stages and what they mean to you.
Blood tests. Different types of blood tests are used to see
whether cancer has spread to your bones or liver.
bone scan. Radioactive material that shows up on
X-rays is injected into your arm. An X-ray camera passes over your body, taking
pictures as the radioactive material moves into your bones. Areas of bone
damage show up in the pictures. Prostate cancer that has spread to the bones
can cause this kind of damage.
CT scan. A CT scanner directs a series of X-ray pulses
through your body. Each X-ray pulse lasts only a fraction of a second and
represents a "slice" of the organ or area being studied.
MRI. An MRI uses a strong magnetic field to make
pictures of the prostate. This can show tissue damage or disease, such as
infection or a tumor.
you have been treated for prostate cancer in the past, you've probably been
having regular checkups that include
PSA tests to check for any signs that the cancer has
come back or has spread to other parts of your body. Your doctor will watch for
any increases in your PSA level and the speed with which any increases occur. A
higher PSA does not necessarily mean your cancer has come back. But it may mean that you need further tests, such as a prostate biopsy, bone scan, CT scan, or