Prostate Cancer Tests, Diagnosis, Stages and Prognosis

If you’re nervous about being screened, don’t be. Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is here to make your appointments as easy and comfortable as possible. 

Common prostate cancer screening tests include:

  • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE):  A doctor or nurse inserts a finger into your rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or hard areas on the prostate that may be cancer. 
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test: A simple blood draw

What Are the Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines?

For most men, prostate cancer screening should begin at age 50. If you are an African American man or have a family history (father, brother, son) of prostate cancer, Banner MD Anderson recommends you begin screening at age 45.

Age 45-50

  • Discuss screening risks and benefits with your health care provider
  • A DRE or a PSA blood test (or both) may be conducted
  • Continue testing as indicated by your previous test results

Age 75 or older

  • Consult with your doctor to determine whether or not you should continue screening for prostate cancer.
  • Banner MD Anderson does not recommend cancer screening for men over the age of 85.

Along with regular exams, practice awareness and familiarity with your body. If you notice any changes, like irregular urination, let your doctor know right away.

If exam results suggest cancer, your doctor will advise you on other diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound or biopsy of the prostate tissue.

Research is constantly being done to discover new screening tests for prostate cancer, including genetic tests. Talk with your doctor to find out the latest updates in screening options.

What Is the Prognosis of a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis?

When detected early, the survival rate for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. If you do receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, don’t worry. Our team of specialists will be by your side from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

Gleason Score for Prostate Cancer

The Gleason Score is a grading and scoring system used to show how aggressive the prostate cancer is. Scores can range from 1-10, and the higher the score the more likely the cancer is to spread. Talk to your doctor about your Gleason Score to receive a clear diagnosis.

Prostate Cancer Stages:

The following stages will help doctors determine the best treatment route for your prostate cancer.

  • Stage I (1): There may be no noticeable symptoms and the tumor may not be detected by an imaging test. The cancer is within the prostate.
  • Stage II (2): A tumor may or may not be detected in an imaging test. The cancer cells are still within the prostate but may spread quickly.
  • Stage III (3): The cancer has spread beyond the prostate, but the survival rate is still high at this stage.
  • Stage IV (4): The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This could include the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs or bladder.