Depending on the results of the MRI scan, your urologist may recommend you have a biopsy to remove some samples of tissue from the prostate. They will explain the risks and benefits of having a prostate biopsy and give you time to decide if you want to have one.
How is a biopsy done?
There are two main ways to perform a prostate biopsy. In a transperineal (TPUS) biopsy, the needle is inserted through the skin between the anus and the scrotum. In a transrectal (TRUS) biopsy, the needle is inserted through the rectum. During either procedure, the doctor may take a number of samples from different areas of the prostate and also remove a sample from any suspicious areas seen on the MRI.
A TPUS biopsy is normally done under general anaesthetic. The specialist passes a small ultrasound probe into your rectum. An image of the prostate appears on a screen and helps guide the needle into place.
What happens after the procedure?
Depending on the type of biopsy you have, after the procedure you may see a small amount of blood in your urine or bowel motions for a few days, and blood in your semen for a couple of months. After a TPUS biopsy, the risk of infection is extremely low. There is a greater risk of infection with a TRUS biopsy, but the risk is still low.
The samples are sent to a laboratory, where a specialist doctor called a pathologist looks for cancer cells in the tissue. Waiting for the results can be a stressful time. It may help to call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Podcast: Tests and Cancer
A/Prof Ian Vela, Urologic Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland University of Technology, and Urocology, QLD; A/Prof Arun Azad, Medical Oncologist, Urological Cancers, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Nicholas Brook, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and A/Prof Surgery, The University of Adelaide, SA; Peter Greaves, Consumer; Graham Henry, Consumer; Clin Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician and Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics, and Notre Dame University Australia, WA; Henry McGregor, Men’s Health Physiotherapist, Adelaide Men’s Health Physio, SA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Dr Tom Shakespeare, Director, Radiation Oncology, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Lismore Public Hospitals, NSW; A/Prof David Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Daffodil Centre, Cancer Council NSW; Allison Turner, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse (PCFA), Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Maria Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council QLD; Michael Walkden, Consumer; Prof Scott Williams, Radiation Oncology Lead, Urology Tumour Stream, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Professor of Oncology, Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, The University of Melbourne, VIC.
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