Prostate Biopsy, MRI, PSA, and Prostate Cancer

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In the 1980s a technique was developed in which tissues samples were taken systematically from the prostate in hopes of locating a tumor within the prostate gland. Typically men whose physicians discover elevations in PSA levels, a common blood test to screen for prostate cancer, trigger over 1 million prostate biopsies annually. Most biopsies performed are conventional biopsies otherwise known as blind biopsies. Men who undergo these biopsies dread them and for good reason. They are painful and 75 percent of the biopsies performed are negative for prostate cancer.  

Despite this many men with negative biopsies but elevated PSA levels may still harbor malignant tumors – tumors missed by these conventional biopsies. Most men who have a prostate biopsy will have additional biopsies. This is especially true as many men with negative biopsies but elevated PSA levels may still harbor malignant tumors – tumors missed by conventional blind biopsies.  

A study at Johns Hopkins in 2011 found a significant rise in serious complications post prostate biopsy requiring hospitalization. They found that this common outpatient procedure, used to diagnose prostate cancer, was associated with a 6.9 percent rate of hospitalization within 30 days of biopsy. This does not include complications that were treated in an emergency department or outpatient setting. In 33% of men undergoing prostate biopsy, side effects that men consider a “moderate or major problem” will be experienced, including pain, fever, bleeding, infection, and transient urinary difficulties. A rise in PSA (prostate-specific antigen) may not warrant immediate biopsy, especially because 20%-30% of men will drop back to a lower level simply by repeating the test.  

A PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test is still beneficial for you and your health care provider. Despite the fact that a majority of men with an elevated PSA do not in fact have prostate cancer, but may have other reasons for an elevated PSA such as prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).  

In August 30, 2011 an article entitled “Prostate Cancer: The Dreaded Prostate Biopsy and Alternatives” points out the alternatives to a traditional biopsy. It is now 2015. It is important to note that imaging of a tumor as discussed then never under staged a tumor but it actually makes it look worse than it is. Also in 2011 doctors at UCLA published a study on “Prostate cancer now detectable using imaging-guided biopsy”. This actually makes sense. If you are going to have a biopsy of your prostate there truly is no point in having a conventional blind biopsy of the prostate. The MRI options available today to detect prostate cancer with imaging make a conventional biopsy look Jurassic in comparison. If you suspect you have prostate cancer you should be asking your specialist health care provider about having an MRI before you consider a biopsy.

This article was originally published October 16, 2015 and has been adapted by the publishing author with appropriate links. The author is affiliated with Best Prostate ® a dietary supplement for prostate health.  If you have an enlarged prostate or are living with the symptoms of an enlarged prostate you may want to visit www.bestprostate.com to learn about effective natural alternatives as compared to prescription medications.