If you are showing symptoms that may suggest that you have prostate cancer, such as trouble starting to urinate or prostate pain, then your doctor will recommend a procedure known as a prostate biopsy. A prostate biopsy is a simple procedure that is usually performed by a urologist and is the only way of making a positive diagnosis of prostrate cancer.
Although a prostrate biopsy sounds like a big deal it really isn’t. Most men find that although the procedure is uncomfortable it is relatively pain free and most only feel a small amount of pain following the procedure.
Today, there are a number of ways in which a prostate biopsy can be carried out. The most common procedure is known as the core needle biopsy. In this instance the doctor will use a biopsy gun to remove small samples of tissue from the prostrate. The biopsy gun fires a needle into the sample area and removes the tissue. Once the tissue samples have been collected they are then sent to the laboratory where they will be analyzed to see if cancer is present.
This procedure is usually done under a local anaesthetic and normally takes no longer than half an hour.
Another way to do a prostate biopsy is to access the prostate gland via the urethra. As the urethra passes through the prostate gland, a lighted scope that has a cutting loop attached to it is inserted into the urethra to collect the tissue samples.
This particular procedure takes 30-45 minutes and although usually done under local anaesthetic, may sometimes be carried out under general anaesthetic.
A less common way to perform a prostate biopsy is to collect the tissue samples with a needle through the perineum. The perineum is located between the rectum and the scrotum and the urologist will keep the prostate steady by inserting a finger into the rectum. He will then use a biopsy needle that will be inserted through a small incision.
Carried out under a local anaesthetic this is the quickest way to perform a prostate biopsy as it only takes about 15 minutes but is a procedure that is not often used.
Before your prostate biopsy, your doctor should explain any complications that could occur, for instance, there may be discomfort and bruising at the biopsy site, there may be prolonged bleeding from the biopsy site or you could have problems urinating.
After a prostate biopsy, you may find that you have blood present in your urine or stools for a few days or you may even have red or reddish brown blood in your semen when you ejaculate. This could last a few weeks.
Your doctor should be notified if the amount of blood increases, you continue to have difficulty urinating or you show signs of a fever and chills.
The important thing to remember is that you may suffer some discomfort for a short while but that is far better than the consequences of not having any symptoms checked out.