Prostate biopsy

A prostate biopsy is a procedure to remove samples of suspicious tissue from the prostate. The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

During a prostate biopsy, also called a core needle biopsy, a fine needle is used to collect a number of tissue samples from your prostate gland. A prostate biopsy is performed by a doctor who specializes in the urinary system and men's sex organs (urologist).

Your urologist may recommend a prostate biopsy if results from initial tests, such as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or digital rectal exam (DRE), suggest you may have prostate cancer.

Following a prostate biopsy, tissue samples from the prostate biopsy are examined under a microscope for cell abnormalities that are a sign of prostate cancer. If cancer is present, it is evaluated to determine how quickly it's likely to grow and spread and to determine your best treatment options.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

A prostate biopsy is used to detect prostate cancer. Your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy if:

  • Results of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test are higher than normal for your age
  • Your doctor found lumps or other abnormalities during a digital rectal exam
  • You've had a previous biopsy that was normal, but you still have elevated PSA levels
  • A previous biopsy revealed prostate tissue cells that were abnormal but not cancerous

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