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Prostate Cancer Diagnosis


A physician may recommend a core needle biopsy for men with an elevated PSA level and abnormal digital rectal exam. During a biopsy, the physician inserts a narrow needle into the prostate to remove tissue samples for a pathologist to examine. If cancer cells are found, further tests are done to determine the extent and aggressiveness of the disease.

Gleason Grading system

Pathologists determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer using the Gleason grading system. This estimates the cancer’s potential to grow and spread. Cells with a low Gleason grade pose less of a threat. Tumors with a high Gleason grade (7 or above) are more likely to grow and spread beyond the prostate.

Diagnostic Imaging

Various imaging tests are used to determine the stage or extent of the prostate tumor and whether cancer cells have spread to nearby tissues or other parts of the body. These tests may include:

  • Artemis
  • Bone scans
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Ultrasound

For a complete list of imaging resources at Greenwich Hospital, see Radiology Services.

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