Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. It is normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood. However, prostate cancer or benign (non-cancerous) conditions can increase a man’s PSA level.
PSA levels are not specific for prostate cancer and some cancers in patients with normal PSA levels can go undetected. Serum PSA levels can be influenced by several factors such as the amount of BPH tissue, age, inflammation, and medications whereas PCA3 scores are not affected by these factors. The urinary PCA3 test is a new cancer marker test with greater prostate cancer specificity than PSA testing.
Transabdominal and transrectal ultrasonographies are used as standard clinical methods to evaluate the prostate. Ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound waves to create video or photographic images of body tissues. A transabdominal ultrasonography is performed externally. During this procedure the surgeon applies a special gel on the patient’s abdomen and a small handheld probe known as a transducer is moved over the abdomen. The sound waves from the transducer are viewed as images on a monitor. Transrectal ultrasonography involves a probe that is inserted a short way into the patient’s rectum. It forms images on a monitor and helps the surgeon perform a prostate biopsy by guiding several small needles through the wall of the rectum to the abnormal areas of the prostate.
A bone scan is an imaging test that detects areas of increased or decreased bone metabolism. Bone Scans assist in identifying tumors, infection, or fractures. The radiopharmaceutical most commonly used is 99mTc-Medronate (MDP). MDP is injected into a vein, usually in the arm, where it is transported by the bloodstream to the bones.
A CT Scanner uses a series of X-ray beams to build up images of the body in slices. The CT scanner emits a succession of narrow beams of radiation as it moves through an arc. The X-ray detector within a CT scanner can see hundreds of different levels of density within the organs of the body including the tissues. A computer uses this information to work out the relative density of the tissues examined and finally processes the results displaying them as a two dimensional picture on a monitor.
MRI Stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is a way of getting pictures of various parts of your body without the use of X-rays. Unlike X-rays and computed tomographic (CT) scans, which use radiation, a MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves. A radio wave antenna is used to send signals to the body and then receive signals back.
These returning signals are converted into pictures by a computer attached to the scanner. Pictures of almost any part of your body can be obtained at almost any particular angle.