Understanding your biopsy report
Have you been diagnosed with prostate cancer? Understanding your biopsy report from the outset is important, as it is the cornerstone of your treatment options if cancer is present. Above all, do not hesitate to ask your urologist questions. Here are 5 things to remember about the biopsy.
- What is the role of a pathologist?
The pathologist is a medical specialist who examines your cells and tissues or prostate, taken from a biopsy or radical surgery, under a microscope. His/her role is crucial for your diagnosis and your treatment options.
- Why did your urologist request a biopsy after a positive MRI?
Even if the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) revealed suspicious lesions to investigate, only the biopsy can confirm or not the presence of cancer. In addition, the results of a biopsy that targets only a suspicious lesion may be negative, while tissue taken elsewhere in your prostate reveals the presence of cancer. You can get your report from the archives of the hospital where the biopsy was taken.
- Can a prostate biopsy in the presence of cancer spread cancer cells?
This is not the case for a prostate biopsy, while it may be the case for other cancers such as ovarian cancer. So do not worry about that. It is a very safe procedure, as evidenced by the 1,600 prostate biopsies performed annually at the CHUM. Also, while it cannot be said that prostate cells are regenerating, rest assured that a biopsy leaves no holes or marks in your prostate or even several.
- How often does a biopsy miss the presence of cancer cells?
Since biopsy is the gold standard as a diagnostic tool and it is difficult to detect prostate cancer through imaging (MRI) tests, it cannot be said which biopsy is falsely negative. The false-negative rate will vary with the size of your cancer and your individual risk of developing prostate cancer. There are algorithms that assess the risk of missing prostate cancer. The current biopsy pattern (12 cylinders in 6 zones) seems the most optimal for the moment.
- Why is it important to understand your biopsy report?
Cancer words in your report are cancer, adenocarcinoma, carcinoma, malignant. If you do not see these words in your report, there is no cancer. The bottom line is that the lower your numbers - Gleason score of 6 or a Group Grade of 1 - the less aggressive your cancer is. Ditto for the extent of your cancer interpreted in % or in millimeters (mm) on each of your samples detailed in your report. Although complex, the biopsy report is interpreted along with other clinical data to guide future biopsies or treatment, if required. Do not hesitate to ask your urologist any questions.
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Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you.
Do you have any questions or concerns? Above all, do not hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with a nurse specializing in uro-oncology. It's simple and free, like all our services.
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