A Look at the Process of Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Doctor writing on clipboard while giving man checkup

With early diagnosis of prostate cancer, treatments are often less invasive and more effective. There are a number of tools doctors can use to diagnose prostate cancer so treatment can begin. At Riverside Community Hospital, our imaging specialists and cancer team will walk with you through the entire process of diagnosis, care, and recovery. Here is a look at the diagnostic tools doctors use for prostate cancer.

Blood Test and Exam

The first stage of prostate cancer diagnosis begins in the doctor’s office. Your physician may perform a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test to check for elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). During the DRE, your doctor will check for prostate lumps and enlargement. The PSA test tells your doctor if you have high levels of an antigen that sometimes—but not always—occurs with prostate cancer. PSA levels are also used to determine prostate cancer staging if a diagnosis is made.

Transrectal Ultrasound

A transrectal ultrasound, or TRUS, allows your doctor to see if your prostate gland is enlarged or if it has any suspicious growths. The test is usually ordered if your doctor is concerned about the results of your DRE or PSA test. TRUS is performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes about 10 minutes. Although you may feel some pressure when the probe is inserted, the procedure is not painful for most patients.


A biopsy may also be ordered based on the results of DRE or PSA tests. Prostate biopsies are usually performed by urologists. The biopsy usually takes about 10 minutes and is performed by inserting a small, hollow needle into the prostate via the rectum to remove prostate tissue for testing.

If you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, Riverside Community Hospital’s Cancer Center can help. We offer superior care from a team of compassionate oncology experts. Our hospital’s range of facilities and services also includes a heart hospital, bariatric weight loss, OBGYN care and much more. To learn more, call (951) 788-3000.

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