If you are having problems urinating,
your doctor may use tests to see if you have an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). This condition is the most common cause of urination
Initial tests include:
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.
urine test, in which some of your urine is sent to a
lab and checked for blood, infection, or abnormal cells.
Prostate cancer can cause blood in the
PSA test to measure the levels of prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) in your blood. A higher level of PSA may be a sign of an
enlargement, infection, or cancer of the prostate. If it is possible that an
infection is raising your PSA, you may first have 4 to 6 weeks of
antibiotics. Your doctor may suggest a second PSA test
before thinking of doing a biopsy.
AUA symptom score.
This is a series of questions from the American Urological Association (AUA)
that measures how bad your urinating problems are. Sometimes these problems are
caused by prostate cancer that is blocking your urine flow.
Urine-flow rate test. This test measures your urine and how fast
it comes out. Sometimes a low flow rate is caused by prostate cancer.
If tests point to prostate cancer,
your doctor may recommend a
prostate biopsy, in which tissue is taken from the
prostate and examined under a microscope. A biopsy is the only way to confirm
whether you have prostate cancer.
After treatment for prostate cancer, you have regular checkups to check for any signs
that the cancer has come back or spread. Tests that are done to evaluate the
spread of the cancer and to plan further treatment may include:
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-rays
through your body. CT scans can show tissue damage or diseases, such as an
infection or tumor.
A pelvic lymphadenectomy. This is an operation
in which the
lymph nodes near your prostate are removed and checked under a microscope to
see if they contain cancer. It may be done at the same time as surgery to
remove your prostate.
MRI. An MRI uses a strong magnetic field to make
pictures of the prostate. The MRI can show tissue damage or disease, such as
infection or a tumor.
ProstaScint scan. This scan may be used to
look for cancer cells after you have had surgery to remove cancer. Radioactive
material that attaches itself to prostate cancer cells and shows up on X-rays
is injected into a vein. Four days later, your body is scanned with a special
camera, and lymph nodes and other areas that have been invaded by prostate
cancer cells show up in the picture.