What is an ultrasound?
This versatile imaging technology uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs and tissues within the body. By capturing images in real time, ultrasound exams reveal the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, such as the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and liver.
Ultrasound can also be used to precisely locate the position of a tumor in order to guide a biopsy or aspiration procedure. For example, ultrasound may be used to mark out the boundaries of a tumor prior to its removal. It can also be used to administer cancer treatments.
Depending on the body part being examined, some types of ultrasound include: abdominal, breast, cardiac, pelvic, prostate, renal, testicular and thyroid. Unlike X-rays, ultrasound exams do not use radiation.
Ultrasound for prostate cancer
Ultrasound technology may be used to monitor prostate size, tumor response or activity in other tissues.
In detecting prostate cancer, your doctor might also recommend a 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.