Is the Prostate Cancer Biopsy an Effective Diagnostic Tool?

Posted on: December 9th, 2011

There are various tests to detect the presence of prostate cancer, the only sure way to detect the condition is through a prostate biopsy. Every year in theUS, there are approximately over a million men who undergo prostate biopsy. Within the biopsies that are preformed, around 25% indicate the existence of prostate cancer. In the other 75% of prostate biopsies, one third indicates a false negative result. With this information, researchers are concerned that prostate cancer is not being detected in the earlier stages.

A prostate biopsy is when a prostate gun which shoots tiny little needles into the prostate is used to take small samples of the tissue. This procedure is preformed in the physician’s office without the use of anesthesia. Since this procedure can be painful, the approximate numbers of tissue samples that are taken are about 6 cores. The specimen is taken to a lab for a pathologist to read to determine if cancer is present. If cancer is present the pathologist will assign a Gleason Score between 2 and 10. The lower your Gleason score is the less risk of the cancer spreading.

CPC recommends prostate biopsies as well as stereotactic transperineal prostate biopsies (STPB). The difference between the prostate biopsy and a STPB is with the STPB, the patient is under anesthesia and the physician takes samples from every octant of the prostate. STPB is performed through the perineum, rather than the rectum, resulting in less pain and lower risk of infection. STPB is extremely well tolerated and useful for diagnosis of prostate cancer. Ask your physician for all of the options and side effects before undergoing any procedure.