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If you are wondering about prostate cancer please send me a question detailing your personal circumstances and I will advise you of your options based upon my years of experience and extensive knowledge promoting good prostate health.

The official line promoted by doctors is that the side effects of a prostate biopsy are transient. The side effects do clear up in most cases but I have had quite a lot of anecdotal evidence of a few men who have had long term problems following biopsy. I believe this is more likely in the case of men who have had a series of biopsies.

According to the literature, three quarters of men who had a prostate biopsy did not need to have it and produced a negative result. Not all patients are told that they will suffer the potential risk for bleeding, scarring, infection or sepsis. Nor will they be told that it may result in impotency and/or incontinence in a minority of patients.

The thing is, if it happens to you it will not be a consolation that it only happens to a minority. Most prostate biopsies are performed unnecessarily. Biopsies are also expensive and the fact that it provides a ready source of cash flow for urologists may influence their enthusiasm for that procedure.

A more important issue that is often not discussed between physician and patient involves the possibility of "needle tracking", the very real possibility of spreading cancer cells beyond the prostate when a biopsy is performed.

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Unfortunately, any prediction from a Gleason score is purely a statistical construct. It will predict a percentage risk, so that you may know that at a certain Gleason score 5/100 men will die within 10 years.

But you will not know whether you are likely to be one of those five or one of the 95. Medical science is presently unable to predict any individual’s outcome. This is particularly important when you consider that any likely outcome can also be changed and influenced by changes of diet, lifestyle, behavior and attitude.

The biggest danger in having a prostate biopsy is not the biopsy itself but the various invasive treatments that may be recommended as a consequence of the results of the biopsy. That is when the real damage is done.

Prostate Biopsy Procedure

There are 3 methods to currently perform a prostate biopsy.

  • transperineal
    Requires a small incision. The biopsy needle is injected into several areas of your prostate. The purpose is to extract tiny samples from the various areas.
  • transurethral
    A cystoscope is inserted through the urethra. The cystoscope enables your prostate to be viewed and a slicing loop is used to extract tissue.
  • transrectal
    Ultrasound is used to guide the doctor. A biopsy gun is inserts a needle into the prostate through the rectum wall. Multiple tissue samples are taken from different areas of the prostate.

As just one example of many: A study of men with prostate cancer which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality and of death due to prostate cancer.

The Harvard School of Public Health and University of California, San Francisco researchers also found that men who did more vigorous activity had the lowest risk of dying from the disease. It is the first study in men with prostate cancer to evaluate physical activity after diagnosis in relation to prostate cancer-specific mortality and overall mortality.

"Our results suggest that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine," said Stacey Kenfield, lead author of the study and a Harvard School of Public Health researcher.There are more studies quoted in respect of exercise and diet and how it can influence the progression of disease quoted in my guide "all about the prostate".

The biggest danger in having a prostate biopsy is not the biopsy itself but the various invasive treatments that may be recommended as a consequence of the results of the biopsy. It is the invasive (so-called). It treatments where the most damage is done.

Prostate Biopsy Complications

Most men will feel discomfort and soreness in the area on which the biopsy was performed. A proportion of men will feel severe discomfort and pain. Most prostate biopsies are accompanied by bleeding in the urine, stool, or semen. Men who undergo a transrectal biopsy may experience a small amount of blood from their rectum for several days. The amount of bleeding is generally minimal and goes away after several weeks.

The most frequent post-operative complication is an infection, despite the antibiotics. In that case, the pain can be severe and protracted. Very occasionally men have reported a major change in their sexual ability and performance after a biopsy.

Most studies seem to indicate that any cancer cells which may be present did not travel elsewhere as a result of the invasive procedure. However, not all studies agree and although it is not generally the case, it seems the biopsy may on occasion spread the cancer.

Unfortunately, any prediction from a Gleason score is purely a statistical construct. It will predict a percentage risk, so that you may know that at a certain Gleason score 5/100 men will die within 10 years.

But you will not know whether you are likely to be one of those five or one of the 95. Medical science is presently unable to predict any individual's outcome. This is particularly important when you consider that any likely outcome can also be changed and influenced by taking natural supplements, changes of diet, lifestyle, behavior and attitude. If you read my 100 page guide "all about the prostate" you will know which, how and why those changes can make a massive difference to the outcome of your prostate disease.

Most men will feel discomfort and soreness in the area on which the biopsy was performed. A proportion of men will feel severe discomfort and pain. Most prostate biopsies are accompanied by bleeding in the urine, stool, or semen.Men who undergo a transrectal biopsy may experience a small amount of blood from their rectum for several days. The amount of bleeding is generally minimal and goes away after several weeks.

The most frequent post-operative complication is an infection, despite the antibiotics. In that case, the pain can be severe and protracted. Very occasionally men have reported a major change in their sexual ability and performance after a biopsy.

It is not entirely clear in how many cases any cancer cells which may be present travelled elsewhere as a result of the invasive prostate biopsy.However, although it is not generally the case, it seems the biopsy may in some percentage of men spread the cancer.

Alternatives To Prostate Biopsy

A prostate biopsy is only 85% reliable. There are a range of other less invasive tests, generally not preferred by Doctors, that can detect prostate cancer. These include color doppler and MRI scans and the PCA3 test. Another alternative is simply not to have a biopsy. There is little question in my mind that most prostate biopsies are performed unnecessarily. If you are concerned about having a biopsy, please ask me a question relating to your condition and I will advise based upon my years of experience and knowledge about prostate biopsies.

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