According to the American Cancer Society, almost 290,000 Americans have been diagnosed with prostate cancer since the beginning of 2023. While there are different ways to initially assess for the disease, only a prostate biopsy can definitively give a diagnosis. Here’s what you need to know about the procedure.
Why Your Doctor Might Request A Biopsy
Generally, your doctor might ask you to undergo a prostate biopsy if they suspect you have cancer. This suspicion may be spurred by the presence of lumps during a digital rectal exam, high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, or a previous biopsy that showed abnormal prostate tissue cells but they weren’t cancerous at the time. It’s also common to do another biopsy if the first one showed no cancerous cells but your PSA levels are still elevated.
How To Prepare For The Procedure
Before doing a biopsy, there are a few things that your doctor will recommend to get you prepared. Since a biopsy carries a small risk of infection, you may be asked to take antibiotics beforehand to prevent that.
The procedure can also cause bleeding so you may have to stop taking any medication or supplements that increase bleeding risk a few days before doing the biopsy. These medications include ibuprofen, aspirin, and warfarin.
Additionally, it’s typical for you to provide a urine sample so your doctor can check for a urinary tract infection. If you have an infection, they won’t do the procedure and you’ll have to reschedule it once you’ve taken a course of antibiotics to treat the problem.
The last thing you usually need to do to prepare for a biopsy is to take an enema at home to make things easier during the procedure.
What Happens At A Biopsy
The purpose of a biopsy is to collect tissue from the prostate for a laboratory examination. While this tissue is usually collected using a thin biopsy needle, the details of the procedure can vary depending on the method that’s used.
In the transrectal method, a surgeon uses a transrectal ultrasound to guide the biopsy needle through the rectal wall into the prostate gland. In the perineal method, a surgeon makes an incision between your scrotum and rectum.
After inserting a finger into the rectum to stabilize your prostate gland, they will insert the biopsy needle through the