- What is a prostate biopsy?
- Side effects and risks of a prostate biopsy
- What to expect after a prostate biopsy?
- How long do prostate biopsy results take?
- How painful is a biopsy of the prostate?
- What can you not do after a prostate biopsy?
- Does a prostate biopsy damage the prostate?
- Does the prostate swell after a biopsy?
- Alternatives to a prostate biopsy
- Our Natural & Non-Invasive Prostate Cancer Screening
The prostate is a small walnut-sized gland that releases fluid components of the semen.
As men retain the capability to produce semen during their lifespan, the prostate also remains active for life.
However, men now, on average, live much longer than they used to about a hundred years back.
This means that more men are likely to be diagnosed with inflammatory conditions of the prostate and even prostate cancer.
The prostate is globally among the most common cancers. About 15% of all cancers diagnosed in men are prostate cancer cases.
At present, it is the second most common cancer, second only to lung cancer, with close to 1.5 million cases diagnosed each year.
However, things are much more complicated. Studies indicate that men above 65 will increase by four times between 2000 to 2050.
Unfortunately, it means that cases of prostate cancer will continue to rise.
Studies of the autopsy indicate that one-third of men above 50 have histological signs of prostate cancer.
Early diagnosis of prostate cancer also remains a significant challenge. Diagnosing it with the help of common lab tests is challenging.
The most common non-invasive (blood test) test, the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, is not very reliable.
In fact, it can miss most cases of prostate cancer.
Since there is no reliable blood test for the early detection of prostate cancer, a prostate biopsy remains the most reliable way for the early diagnosis of this cancer. But this test can come with side effects and risks.
Keep reading to find out what you can expect after a prostate biopsy.
What is a prostate biopsy?
At present, the most reliable way to diagnose cancer remains the examination of tissues under the microscope. However, it means that healthcare providers also need to extract those tissues.
In the case of prostate biopsy, doctors tend to recommend it if they expect that a person may have prostate cancer. In most cases, it means a positive PSA test and increased prostate size during the examination. Prostate cancer screening is an annual event for men older than 50 years and living with prostatitis.
Prostate biopsy is done through the transrectal route. Generally, doctors would use transrectal ultrasound to guide them.
In the procedure, they insert multiple needles. Generally, doctors would not use local anesthetic as the needles are very fine and should not cause significant pain.
Generally, doctors would insert multiple needles to get enough tissues for multiple examinations. During the procedure, doctors extract a tissue sample.
Once the tissue has been extracted, it is sent for further microscopic or histological examination. After examining under the microscope, doctors can say if these are cancer cells or normal cells. If they find cancer cells, they diagnose prostate cancer.
Doctors would also insert an ultrasound probe transrectally during the examination, which may cause mild discomfort but does not cause any trauma.
Additionally, it is worth understanding that doctors may also use MRI-guided prostate biopsy. However, using MRI instead of ultrasound may be better in some cases, as it can help target a specific area of the prostate gland.
Side effects and risks of a prostate biopsy
Any invasive procedure carries risks and causes specific side effects.
One of the more common side effects post prostate biopsy is rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding occurs since in most cases a transrectal prostate biopsy is used.
It means mild trauma of the rectum. This side effect would not occur in the case of transperineal prostate biopsy.
Blood in the semen is another complication of the issue which may continue for a few weeks in some cases.
Blood in urine and increased risk of urinary tract infection are rare but possible complications. If a urinary tract infection occurs, doctors will prescribe antibiotics. Urinary tract infection post prostate biopsy is uncommon.
Some may also find difficulty while urinating, and doctors may need to insert a urinary catheter.
What to expect after a prostate biopsy?
After a prostate biopsy, you can expect some discomfort in the rectal region, changes in bowel movement, or mild bleeding for the next couple of days. These issues would not continue for long in most cases, as the trauma of the site is relatively minor.
Of course, the rectum is still quite a sensitive place, and there would be some soreness in the region. Generally, a transperineal prostate biopsy is more traumatic, and that is why doctors avoid it until or unless there are specific reasons for using that procedure.
Some blood in urine after biopsy or mild urinary tract infection may occur, but these issues are not for long. In most cases, treatment with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory therapy would suffice.
Rust-colored semen could be worrisome for some, but that is expected. One should understand that the prostate provides fluid to the semen, and any prostate trauma would result in some blood in the semen.
Here, the only worry could be if fever develops and there is difficulty urinating. These issues may suggest some severe urinary tract infections and a need for medical attention.
How long do prostate biopsy results take?
Generally, you can expect to receive your prostate biopsy results in 1-3 days. After that, pathologists would have a look at the tissue under the microscope, and in the report, they will define the kind of cells they could see.
Additionally, doctors would also describe the cancer score. For this, they use the Gleason scoring system that ranges from 2 to 10.
There is a complex way of calculating this score, and doctors do not use a score of 5 or below. It means that a score of 5 or below means that cancer could not be confirmed. 6 means it is starting to appear, and 7 means already some early sign.
Scores of 8,9,10 are almost confirmatory of cancer, indicating that cells are well differentiated from normal healthy cells.
How painful is a biopsy of the prostate?
It is a common question, and the survey shows that it is not that painful. For example, in the case of transrectal prostate biopsy, most would describe experiencing mild discomfort.
That is why doctors do not use sedation or general anesthesia. Nevertheless, doctors may use some local anesthetic, which makes local tissues numb and is very safe.
Pain may be more pronounced in the case of transperineal biopsy, and that is why it is an uncommon way of the prostate biopsy procedure.
What can you not do after a prostate biopsy?
After a prostate biopsy, people can expect to continue to live normally. However, there are some cautions to be practiced, generally for a few days after the biopsy.
Experts recommend avoiding having sex for seven days after the biopsy. This is because sexual activity activates the prostate gland. It is essential to give the prostate gland some rest and time to heal.
Additionally, it is a good idea to avoid severe physical activity. Especially avoid sports that put stress on core muscles like exercising, lifting weight, golfing, and more. Generally, a week of caution is more than enough for most people.
One should also avoid straining when living with bowel movement issues. For example, if a person lives with chronic constipation or other bowel moment problems, it is good to consider stool softeners.
When taking medications for some preexisting conditions, it is good to consult a healthcare provider. For example, medications like blood thinning agents may increase the risk of bleeding.
Furthermore, if a healthcare provider has prescribed antibiotics to prevent or manage infection, avoid drinking alcohol for a few days.
Does a prostate biopsy damage the prostate?
Many people want to know, does a prostate biopsy damage the prostate? During a prostate biopsy, doctors use needles to take a sample of tissues for examination and prostate cancer diagnosis. Though they take most precautions when taking biopsy samples, nonetheless the procedure is invasive.
Moreover, a needle is introduced through the bowel wall to the prostate. It means that the prostate is not only traumatized due to needles. In addition, there is always a risk of some pathogens entering the prostate gland.
Transrectal prostate biopsy does cause some damage to the prostate. Fortunately, this damage is relatively small.
Generally, there would be healing in a week after the procedure. It is rare to cause long-term issues.
Does the prostate swell after a biopsy?
When it comes to inflammatory responses, people differ. No matter how small, any trauma will cause local inflammation, and the prostate will swell a bit. However, in some individuals, this swelling may be more than in others.
This swelling of the prostate can make urinating difficult for individuals. Generally, this swelling would not last long. Nonetheless, your healthcare provider would recommend urinating before the procedure.
For most people, the swelling would last for a few hours. However, if it lasts longer, it may cause urinary retention or a problem peeing. In such instances, doctors may need to insert a catheter.
Alternatives to a prostate biopsy
There are many tests that can help diagnose prostate cancer. The prostate biopsy is the only way to confirm if prostate cancer cells are present, other tests can suggest risk or probability.
Imaging methods like transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) can help learn more about the prostate size and probability of cancer. Nevertheless, the test cannot diagnose the condition.
Another commonly used test is the Mi-prostate score (MiPS). It combines results of PSA with PCA3 and T2:ERG genes found in urine and thus helps predict prostate cancer risk with considerable accuracy.
Our Natural & Non-Invasive Prostate Cancer Screening
In our opinion, a far safer and gentler prostate biopsy alternative is our Advanced Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment (APCRA). This consists of non-invasive blood tests and specialized color Doppler scans.
The variety and sophistication of some of these new blood tests make this a very realistic alternative to a prostate biopsy, especially if you have a preference for non-invasive diagnostics and treatments.
After this testing, you will receive a thorough, 3-hour consultation from a Naturopathic Physician who is also a Professor of Urology and a very detailed, written report of your results to be discussed during the appointment.
He will walk you through the results of his assessment and explain every aspect and each option available to you, while also answering any questions that you may have. Your consultation will be like an educational mini-seminar about the real issues facing you as a patient.
Most urologists will have a preference for the particular treatment that they provide. However, the consultant you will see has no agenda and is completely free to offer honest, independent advice.
He will try and help with any information you need in order to arrive at your decision. But he will not try to sway you one way or the other.
Aside from that, the greatest additional benefits of the APCRA are that it is non-invasive, does no damage, and does not close off any avenues for future treatment.
Prostate cancer is among the leading cancers in men affecting about 1.5 million individuals each year. It progresses slowly.
Quite often, men diagnosed with prostate cancer would have enlarged prostate, or they might be living with benign prostate hyperplasia.
Prostate cancer risk is significantly higher in men older than 50 years of age, and thus they would regularly undergo prostate cancer screening.
There are a few good ways of identifying prostate cancer risk. However, most methods like prostate specific antigen tests or prostate gland examinations are suggestive tests. Therefore, they cannot reliably confirm the presence or absence of prostate cancer.
It means that prostate biopsy is the most reliable way to legally diagnose the condition. However, it is an invasive procedure that can come with side effects and risks.