Prostate Cancer (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
In this Article
- What is the prostate gland?
- What is prostate cancer?
- Why is prostate cancer important?
- What are prostate cancer causes?
- What are prostate cancer symptoms and signs?
- What are the screening tests for prostate cancer?
- What are false-positive elevations in the PSA test?
- What refinements have been made in the PSA test?
- How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
- How is the staging of prostate cancer done?
- What are the treatment options for prostate cancer?
- What about prostate cancer surgery?
- What about radiation therapy for prostate cancer?
- What about hormonal treatment for prostate cancer?
- What is cryotherapy for prostate cancer?
- What is HIFU for prostate cancer?
- What is chemotherapy for prostate cancer?
- What are the differences between hormonal treatment and chemotherapy?
- What about herbal or other alternative medicine treatments for prostate cancer?
- What is active surveillance for prostate cancer?
- Can prostate cancer be prevented?
- What will be the future treatments for prostate cancer?
- Prostate Cancer At A Glance
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
How is prostate cancer diagnosed and graded?
Prostate cancer is diagnosed from the results of a biopsy of the prostate gland. If the digital rectal exam of the prostate or the PSA blood test is abnormal, a prostate cancer is suspected. A biopsy of the prostate is usually then recommended. The biopsy is done from the rectum (trans-rectally) and is guided by ultrasound images of the area. A small piece of prostate tissue is withdrawn through a cutting needle. The TRUS-guided Tru-Cut biopsy is currently the standard method to diagnose prostate cancer. Although initially a 6-core set was the standard, currently most experts advocate sampling a minimum of 10-12 pieces of the prostate to improve the chances of detection of the cancer and also to provide a better idea regarding the extent and areas of involvement within the prostate. Multiple pieces are taken by sampling the base, apex, and mid gland on each side of the gland. More cores may be sampled to increase the yield, especially in larger glands.
A pathologist, a specialist physician who analyzes tissue samples under a microscope, then examines the pieces under the microscope to assess the type of cancer present in the prostate and the extent of involvement of the prostate with the tumor. One also can get an idea about the areas of the prostate that are involved by the tumor by assessing which of the pieces contain the cancer and which of them do not. Another very important assessment that the pathologist makes form the specimen is the grade (Gleason's score) of the tumor. This indicates how different the cancer cells are from normal prostate tissue. Grade gives an indication of how fast a cancer is likely to grow and has very important implications on the treatment plan and the chances of cure after treatment. A Gleason score of 6 is supposed to indicate low-grade (less aggressive) disease while that of 8-10 demonstrates high grade (more aggressive) cancer; 7 is regarded as somewhere in between these two.
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