It can be very scary when you or someone you care about has been newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, this brief section will help guide you through the diagnosis and other issues to consider.
There are a few tests that your GP can do to find out if you have a prostate problem. The main tests include:
- a urine test to rule out a urine infection
- a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test
- a digital rectal examination (DRE)
If your GP thinks you may have a prostate problem, they’ll make an appointment for you to see a specialist at a hospital. You might have additional tests at the hospital. These may include:
- a prostate biopsy
- an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
- a CT (computerised tomography) scan
- a bone scan – with or without X-rays
- an ultrasound scan
- a urine flow test
Typically prostate cancer is diagnosed through examination of biopsy cells through a microscope; when cells are cancerous, they grow in an uncontrolled way and look different from normal prostate cells. Pathologists look for these abnormal differences first to detect the presence of cancer and then to determine the cancer grade (known as the Gleason Scale).
Your surgeon or oncologist will then discuss with you the options you have for treatment. This may be surgery, external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy – or indeed another treatment. An increasing number of men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer are not treated immediately but are asked to return for regular tests to ‘keep an eye on’ the condition – this is known as “Active Surveillance”. If you have received a prostate cancer diagnosis, we can help you to understand your diagnosis and describe the different forms of treatment that may be available through our Buddy initiative. If you would like to have support through our Buddy programme, please phone 079 332 6066 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you are in West Lothian, please phone Duncan Wallace on 01506 632309). To access the Buddy section of this website, please click here