Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
Several different tests can be used to detect prostate cancer – the first is a digital rectal exam. This is a quick, painless exam during which a physician inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the size and shape of the prostate. The common blood test for prostate cancer measures levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein from the prostate gland found in the bloodstream. High PSA levels can be a sign of cancer. If cancer is suspected after these tests, a physician may perform an ultrasound-guided biopsy to obtain small tissue samples that will be checked for the presence of cancerous cells. This test gives the most definitive diagnosis.