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Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

If the results of a screening show signs of cancer, your doctor may order a biopsy to sample your prostate tissue, see if cancer is present, and assess its severity, and inform your next steps.

An asian doctor sitting with an older male patient

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?


Diagnosis is where your medical team verifies that prostate cancer is present, sees how aggressive the form of cancer is, and determines whether it has spread into the surrounding body.

When a PSA blood test shows elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen in your body, or a digital rectal exam (DRE) appears abnormal, further testing will be needed. A biopsy is a procedure where your doctor removes a tissue sample from your prostate, and a pathologist examines the tissue to verify the presence of cancer and begin to understand the nature of your disease.

From this test, your medical team can begin to see whether the cancer is aggressive, if it shows signs of having spread, and help inform your next steps in terms of the right treatment. Your doctor will look at all of your test results, your symptoms, your family history and recommend which, if any, additional tests you may need.

Learn more about diagnosing prostate cancer