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The Prostate Gland

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Tests involved with prostate cancer treatment:

Prostate Cancer Discussion on: Factors Determining Treatment

Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy

Trans Rectal Ultrasound (TRUS) Guided biopsies

Trans Urethral Resection of the Prostate(TURP)


Tests involved with prostate cancer treatment:

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

Your doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the condition of the prostate that lies close to the rectal wall. If your doctor feels something suspicious such as a lump or bump, further tests will be carried out. Other tests are needed to enable a more accurate diagnosis.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

A blood sample is taken by your doctor to check for prostate specific antigen (PSA), which is produced by the prostate and is increased by cellular abnormalities within the prostate.
As men get older the prostate gland grows and so the PSA is likely to rise. A high PSA may indicate some type of prostate disease. The level can be raised due to inflammation of the prostate (Prostatitis) and enlargement of the prostate gland (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
or BPH).

PSA is a useful tool for diagnosing and monitoring prostate diseases, but further tests are required to confirm which condition is present.

TRUS Biopsy

Trans Rectal Ultrasound Guided biopsies is discussed elsewhere, Click here to find out more.

Staging and Grading

The tests performed are used to determine the stage of the prostate cancer. Biopsy specimens are analysed to find out how aggressive the cancer is.
The staging system describes how far the cancer has spread within and/or beyond the
prostate capsule.

Stage 1/A:
There are no symptoms and the tumour is confined within the prostate. It is usually found
during the investigation of a different complaint.

Stage 2/B:
Again the tumour is confined to the prostate and although symptoms may not be apparent,
it can be felt during a DRE.

Stage 3/C:
The tumour has spread just outside the prostate gland and may effect nearby tissue.
A common symptom is difficulty in urinating.

Stage 4/D:

Also known as Metastatic cancer, the tumour has spread to other parts of the body. Bones
and Lymph nodes are commonly afflicted and symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss,
bone pain and difficulty urinating.

The Gleason Scoreindicates how aggressive the cancer is. The Gleason Score (or Sum) is something that the pathologist tells about the cancer in terms of its aggressiveness on the
basis of careful inspection under the microscope.  The Gleason Score is actually made up
of 2 numbers known as Gleason Grades.  When a pathologist looks at the prostate cancer
under the microscope, a number grade from 1 to 5 is assigned to the areas most
representative of the cancer present (the primary Gleason Grade).  A second number grade
from 1 to 5 is given to the second most representative area within the cancer (The secondary Gleason Grade).  These two numbers are added together to give the Gleason Score, the maximum Gleason Score is 10 and the minimum Gleason score is 2.  The higher the score,
the more aggressive the tumour is likely to be and this will impact on the likely success of treatment.

Bone Scans

Your doctor may want to see if the cancer has metastasised and has affected you bones.
A small amount of radioactive material is injected into your arm, which is then absorbed by
your bones as they heal. Your arm will then be scanned an hour later to view the activity
of the bone and ascertain whether the cancer has spread.

Dial 000 in an emergency

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