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
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
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 30, 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