Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Exams and Tests

    Locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer are diagnosed through physical exams and tests, including:

    • A 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.
    • A 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.
    • A 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 include:

    Recommended Related to Prostate Cancer

    Prostate Cancer: When Treatment Can Wait

    Prostate cancer can grow very slowly. In some men, it can grow so slowly they may never need treatment. But doctors still want to keep an eye on the cancer so they can take action if it gets worse. This approach is known as active surveillance or watchful waiting. Your doctor may have suggested these options instead of other treatment for a few reasons: Your age Other health conditions you have, such as heart disease, diabetes, or long-lasting high blood pressure Risks and side effects...

    Read the Prostate Cancer: When Treatment Can Wait article > >

    • Blood tests. Different types of blood tests are used to see whether cancer has spread to your bones or liver.
    • A 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.
    • A 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.
    • An 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.

    Follow-up checkups

    If 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 MRI.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man with doctor
    Symptoms, risks, treatments
    man coughing
    Men shouldn’t ignore
     
    prostate cancer cells
    What does this diagnosis mean?
    doctor and male patient
    Is it worth it?
     
    cancer fighting foods
    SLIDESHOW
    15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
    FEATURE
     
    Prostate Enlarged
    VIDEO
    Picture Of The Prostate
    ANATOMY
     
    Prostate Cancer Quiz
    QUIZ
    screening tests for men
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Prostate Cancer Symptoms
    VIDEO
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW