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The techniques used for the diagnosis of prostate cancer are:

  • Digital rectal examination: The oncologist inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to evaluate the prostate. If there is any abnormality in the size, shape, and texture of the prostate, the patient is advised to undergo further examination.
  • PSA test: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is secreted by the prostate and is present in the blood in small amounts. However, an increased level of PSA in the blood may indicate prostate inflammation, enlargement, infection, or cancer.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): The patients may be advised to undergo magnetic resonance imaging to obtain clear images of the prostate gland. MRI also assists the oncologists in guiding the needle during the biopsy. MRI is also done to determine the extent of cancer.
  • Ultrasound: The radiologists perform a transrectal ultrasound to obtain images of the prostate gland. A lubricated probe is inserted into the rectum that generates sound waves.
  • Bone scan: If the prostate cancer spreads to other organs, it usually affects the bones first. The oncologist recommends a bone scan to determine if cancer spreads to the bone. A bone scan involves using radioactive material that accumulates at the damaged part of the bone and is detected through a special camera.
  • PET scan: The principle of the PET scan is similar to that of the bone scan as both involve using radioactive material. However, the radioactive material used in the PET scan differs from the material used in the bone scan. The advanced PET scan technique is used when the extent and site of prostate cancer metastasis are not detected.
  • Prostate biopsy: The cancer specialist obtains the sample of abnormal tissues from the prostate gland through a core needle biopsy. The technique for biopsy may be transperineal or transrectal.
  • Lymph node biopsy: The oncologist removes the nearby lymph nodes to detect if cancer has spread outside the prostate.

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