Prostate Cancer Diagnosis & Detection
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The team of cancer doctors at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) uses sophisticated imaging technology and tools to detect prostate cancer and determine the stage of the disease.
During your first visit to a CTCA hospital, you’ll undergo a comprehensive exam to precisely diagnose your prostate cancer and determine if it has spread to any other part of your body. This helps your care team make the correct prostate cancer diagnosis and formulate an individualized treatment plan that is best suited to your needs.
Throughout your prostate cancer treatment, we will use diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests to monitor your progress. If the disease is resisting treatment, we will modify your treatment or recommend using a different therapy. Our turnaround goal from the time of imaging scans to results is four hours, so that treatment planning can occur as quickly as possible.
Discover a Treatment Plan Tailored to Your Needs
Prostate cancer often does not cause any symptoms in the early stages. Instead, it may be detected during routine screening, using the following tests:
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): This is usually the first step in determining prostate health and is often done as part of routine screening, such as an annual physical. During the exam, your doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum. Your doctor will check to see if the prostate is the proper shape, size and texture. If your doctor feels something suspicious, he or she may order diagnostic tests.
- Genetic Tests: These tests can be used to reveal information about your diagnosis, predict your responsiveness to treatment, understand your risk of developing the same cancer again, and other factors.
- ProstaVysion: A panel of three prognostic molecular biomarkers (PTEN, ERG and HOXD3). Studies indicate that patients with PTEN deletions, ERG fusion/translocation and HOXD3 methylation typically have a less favorable prognosis. Testing is performed on prostate tissue sections.
- PCA3 (Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 Gene) Gene Testing: The PCA3 gene is over expressed in prostate cancer cells. This molecular test evaluates the ratio of mRNA transcripts of PCA3 to PSA. It is performed on a urine sample obtained after a digital rectal exam.
- Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) test: To aid in prostate cancer detection, your doctor may perform a blood test to measure the level of PSA in the blood. High amounts of PSA may indicate prostate cancer or other less serious conditions, such as infection.This test is generally performed in conjunction with a DRE.
- Prostate Biopsy: Similar to a transrectal ultrasound, during a prostate biopsy, your doctor guides a small probe into the rectum and removes a small tissue sample from the prostate for further examination. This tissue allows your doctor to stage the disease and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
- Transrectal Ultrasound: During this exam, a small probe is inserted into the rectum and sound waves provide a picture of the prostate and measure its size. Images will reveal tumors, calcifications and any enlargement of the prostate.
Your Treatment Response is Monitored with Advanced Diagnostics
Once a prostate cancer diagnosis has been made, your CTCA doctor may choose one or a combination of the following imaging tests to monitor the cancerous tissue and determine whether it has spread beyond the prostate:
- Ultrasound – Ultrasound technology may be used to monitor prostate size, tumor response or activity in other tissues.
- CT (Computerized Tomography) Scan – A CT scan is an X-ray technique that produces a detailed, 3D image of the prostate and other structures in the body. A CT scan reveals blood flow and anatomy of tissues in and around the prostate, allowing for the diagnosis and monitoring of tumor growth.
- PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computerized Tomography) – A PET/CT scan combines the 3D images of a CT scan with a PET scan, which reveals abnormal metabolic activity in the tissues. By blending these two images into one image during a single exam, our physicians can identify abnormal activity and know precisely where this activity is taking place. PET/CT scans may reveal cancerous cells before any tumors or structural changes are present.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – An MRI uses radiofrequency waves to create a detailed cross-sectional image of the prostate and surrounding tissues. An MRI has much greater soft tissue contrast than a CT scan, making it especially useful in prostate cancer detection, particularly for tumors and metastases.
- ProstaScint Scans – This technique detects if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, adjacent tissue or bone. Given by intravenous injection, ProstaScint circulates throughout the body and attaches to prostate cancer cells. The injection contains a small amount of radioactive material that is absorbed by cancer cells and shows up as “hot spots” using a special camera.
- Bone Scans – Similar to a ProstaScint Scan this test takes a picture of the skeleton to detect if prostate cancer has spread to the bone (but not to other tissues or lymph nodes).
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