You may have a biopsy after an MRI scan. Your specialist should explain the risks and benefits of having a prostate biopsy and give you time to decide if you want to have a biopsy.
During a biopsy, small amounts of tissue are taken from the prostate using a special needle. The samples are sent to a laboratory, where a specialist doctor called a pathologist looks for cancer cells in the tissue.
There are two main types of prostate biopsy:
- transperineal (TPUS) biopsy – the needle is inserted through the skin between the anus and the scrotum
- transrectal (TRUS) biopsy – the needle is inserted through the rectum.
A transperineal biopsy is most commonly used. It is normally done under general anaesthetic. The specialist passes a small ultrasound probe into your back passage (rectum). An image of the prostate appears on the screen, which helps guide the needle into place.
A biopsy can be uncomfortable. After the procedure, there may be a small amount of blood in your urine or bowel motions for a few days, and you may see blood in your semen for a couple of months. It usually takes 1–2 weeks for the biopsy results to come back.
Dr Amy Hayden, Radiation Oncologist, Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals, and Chair, Faculty of Radiation Genito-Urinary Group (FROGG), The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, NSW; Prof Shomik Sengupta, Professor of Surgery and Deputy Head, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, and Visiting Urologist and Uro-Oncology Lead, Urology Department, Eastern Health, VIC; A/Prof Arun Azad, Medical Oncologist, Urological and Prostate Cancers, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Ken Bezant, Consumer; Dr Marcus Dreosti, Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare, and Clinical Strategy Lead, Oncology Australia, SA; A/Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics and The University of Western Australia, WA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, and HeadwayHealth Clinical and Consulting Psychology Services, NSW; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Western Australia; Graham Rees, Consumer; Kerry Santoro, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, SA; A/Prof David Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW; Matthew Starr, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title. This booklet is funded through the generosity of the people of Australia.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Coping with cancer?
Support groups (face-to-face or telephone), forums and more ways we can help
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment