A prostate biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue from the prostate gland. The tissue is examined for the presence of cancer cells.
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A prostate biopsy is usually done after an abnormal finding by:
A prostate biopsy is the only way to find out if cancer cells are present.
Problems from the procedure may occur, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
You may be asked to do the following:
The type of anesthesia depends on the method that your doctor uses:
Your doctor will use one of the following methods to do the biopsy:
About 30 minutes
You may have discomfort and soreness at the biopsy site. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Blood in the urine, stool, or semen is normal. This may last several days. You may be advised to avoid strenuous activity a day or two after the procedure. Follow your doctor's instructions on caring for the biopsy site.
After the sample is taken, it will be sent to a pathologist for examination under a microscope. If cancer is present, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Cancer Institute
Urology Care Foundation
Prostate Cancer Canada
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Tests for prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html. Updated May 15, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2017.
Tiong HY, Liew LC, Samuel M, Consigliere D, Esuvaranathan K. A meta-analysis of local anesthesia for transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2007;10(2):127-136.
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What causes prostate cancer? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer/causes. Accessed October 10, 2017.
6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905141/Treatment-for-tobacco-use: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
7/13/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905693/Prostate-biopsy: Gershman B, Van Houten HK, Herrin J, et al. Impact of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening trials and revised PSA screening guidelines on rates of prostate biopsy and postbiopsy complications. Eur Urol. [Epub ahead of print] 2016 Mar 16.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 7/13/2016