The prostate biopsy procedure is the only test that can reliably indicate whether cancerous cells are present in the prostate. It is done when your doctor suspects that your DRE or PSA test results hint at cancer.
If so, it could easily lead to a biopsy — even if the higher PSA levels aren't a big deal at all. The PSA test is surrounded by much controversy among the top cancer and medical researchers in the world. Large numbers of men are regularly referred for biopsies only to discover that they don't have cancer.
Doctors can recommend that many samples are taken during the biopsy. Even then, the prostate needle biopsy isn't foolproof and has been known to miss some cancers.
The prostate biopsy procedure is done on an outpatient basis. A local anaesthetic is administered, yet an average of 55% of men who have a prostrate biopsy still feel discomfort during the procedure. That's because it's not a simple one-time insertion for samples of tissue that are removed for testing. In total, about a dozen samples are taken — six from each side!
The prostate cancer biopsy may or may not find cancer depending on how well they sample the different areas of the prostate. Despite all those jabs, less than 1% of the prostate is sampled. A negative biopsy doesn't necessarily mean that the prostate is cancer-free.
There are three ways that the prostate biopsy procedure can be done:
The most common method is through the rectum with ultrasound assistance. When it is done transrectally, there is risk of infection so antibiotics are prescribed. The most common complaint after the needle biopsy is bleeding, either in the urine, stool or ejaculate.
The microscopic examination of the tissue tries to determine if cancer is present and to what level. A pathologist looks for the abnormal cells under a microscope, seeking out those that change in appearance, are misshapen and irregular. If cancer is found, the pathologist will “grade” each tissue sample in order to determine how far along the cancer has developed. It also allows the physician to get a look at the tumor's behavior.
The idea behind cancer testing is to increase the life span of the patient. Here is why biopsies do not make sense for diagnosing prostate cancer...
Most prostate cancers are slow growing and show up later in life. It's so slow that most men will die of other causes before exhibiting symptoms of prostate cancer. Or another way to look at it, cancer "survivors" would have enjoyed the same lifespan with or without treatment (and with fewer complications!).
Not only can a prostate biopsy procedure be very harmful to the prostate, it can lead to painful, long-lasting infections that are difficult to treat. It can easily add bacteria from the bowel into the prostate (usually the biopsy is done through the rectum). If cancer is present, watch out!
The biopsy needles can spread the cancer to other parts of the prostate, release cancerous cells into the bloodstream, and may spread the cancer to other organs or glands nearby, making a relatively benign form of cancer highly fatal. Metastasis is the term used to describe the spreading of the cancer outside the prostate. Metastasic prostate cancer often results in prostate cancer death but not from inside the prostate capsule itself!
The prostate biopsy can lead to surgeries that are not needed. The prostate needle biopsy can also increase urination difficulties and erectile dysfunction.
If high levels of PSA are found in the test, a snowball effect ensues, usually leading to biopsies. There are many possible negative consequences of biopsies:
If any signs of cancer are present in the biopsy results, doctors keep the ball rolling. Conventional treatments vary, but all are damaging, as mentioned earlier. For example, three adverse side effects of prostate surgery or radiation therapy include:
Now consider this: the findings from a 2009 European study indicate that 70 percent of diagnosed men have cancers that will cause them no harm whatsoever if left untreated. The study showed that just 1 out of 50 men would be saved through PSA screenings. The other 49 men would receive surgery with no benefit whatsoever, but likely suffer impotence or incontinence because of the treatments!
Also, take into consideration the words of the American Urological Association, which published this on their website:
Prostate biopsy is associated with a small risk of side effects such as bleeding or infection. A limited number of men may find the biopsy very painful. All men considering biopsy should understand the risks of the biopsy itself as well as the risks of over detection and over treatment.
In Healthy Prostate, I've included important quotes and links to many, many publications that all support my perspective, a very prevalent perspective, of prostate biopsies and the PSA test.
I let them do all these tests because I had passed such a big volume of blood clots and my doctor was worried. I knew I didn't have cancer. However, I wasn't sure what I was going to do, because I had not yet discovered the triggers that were causing my prostate to block and shut down my urination. I was at the end of my rope and, at that time in my life, I didn’t know what you are now learning!
I had the prostate biopsy procedure done because the CT scan showed how massive my prostate was. My very friendly and competent urologist said I had a prostate "the size of Texas"!
The biopsy results showed that I didn't have cancer. This was lucky because it reduced the chances of serious complications such as the spread of a cancer from the needle biopsy.
Knowing now what I do, I would never have allowed my urologist to do a biopsy!
So what should you do?
If some mainstream doctors now say to avoid a prostate biopsy procedure, and it is often better to do nothing if you suspect prostate cancer because of the risks of spreading the cancer by testing or surgeries, then I submit you should do all you can to improve your health. As a by-product you will improve the health of your prostate.
We will discuss this in great detail later on or you can read all about it now in my book...(just click on the image)
This is the place to post them because I get them immediately.
I like to share them and the answers I provide so others can benefit too.
Your email is kept completely confidential. If you want to be notified when the question is answered, please make sure to add your email address. I don't collect or store these emails after they are used to send you your answer, and they are not posted with your question.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Written by Ronald M Bazar,
~BCom, McGill University
~MBA, Harvard University
~the author of this website.
Note Dear Reader...
You must change your diet by stopping those foods that are triggering your condition and replacing them with new ones that nourish you and your prostate.
Then combined with a high quality supplement, you are putting yourself on the road to healing.
There are no shortcuts. Just good changes and little by little you will get better. My books and this site tells you how.