What is a prostate biopsy?
It is obtaining a small amount of prostate tissue with a needle. This tissue sample is analyzed under the microscope in order to make a diagnosis.
Who need this procedure?
It is recommended for those patients in whom there is suspicion of prostate cancer, either because they have an elevated prostate-specific antigen or because the digital rectal examn revealed a suspicious area in the prostate.
Who performs the biopsy?
The biopsy is performed by a urologist. The procedure also involves the use of an ultrasound to guide the needle to take the sample. The biopsy is typically performed under local anesthesia.
How many samples are needed for a diagnosis?
In the case of patients with tumors that are not palpable during rectal examination, an those in which there is only a suspicion of cancer because the prostate-specific antigen is high, the method of sextant biopsy is used. This involves taking six fragments from each of the two lobes (right and left), extracting 12 in total. In the cases where the prostatic biopsy is negative but the patient has an increasing level of prostate antigen in successive follow-up tests, a new biopsy is performed in which additional sample are taken from each lobe.
Extract from: Prostate Cancer: A Patient’s Guide