Your doctor can test for prostate cancer with a rectal (back passage) examination and a blood test. In a rectal examination, the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland to check for anything unusual. The blood test checks your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. The higher your PSA level, the higher the likelihood is of you having prostate cancer. However, a high PSA level may also be a symptom of a different problem.

Following your initial check-up, your doctor may refer you to a hospital for further tests. You may not need to undergo all of the following examinations.

  • Trans-rectal ultrasound scan and biopsy

    A thumb-sized ultrasound probe called a ‘transrectal ultrasound’ is passed into the rectum. Using the resulting image, a small needle is guided by the probe and takes samples of prostate tissue which are then checked for signs of cancer.

  • X-ray

    Your chest and pelvic area may be X-rayed to check if any cancer cells have spread to other parts of your body.

  • Isotope bone scan

    A bone scan is highly sensitive and allows cancer cells to be detected earlier than with X-rays. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein. This material is attracted to areas of bone where cancer cells are present.

  • CT scan

    A CT scan takes a number of detailed pictures of an area on the inside of your body. The scan may show if cancer has spread beyond the prostate to other parts of the body.

  • MRI scan

    MRIs use a magnetic field rather than X-rays to produce images of a cross-section of the inside of your body. Sometimes, a special dye is injected as part of the process to ensure the resulting image is clear.

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