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Prostate Biopsy Experience

Posts: 3
Joined: May 2011

Before my biopsy and surgery I benefitted from reading comments from others on this message board, so I would like to share my own experiences with the prostate biopsy process. Everyone’s experience is different, but my hope is that some portion of this may prove useful to others. In my humble opinion, reasonable people may come to different conclusions about treatment options, but the decision to have a biopsy in the first place, if even slightly indicated by PSA, should not be swayed by concerns about the procedure itself.

Summary for me, the biopsy was no big deal at all. Barely more uncomfortable than a routine trip to the dentist. I admit some anxiety beforehand, but it was misplaced. I was fortunate to have a very competent, gentle urologist. As they say, “your results may vary”.

Procedure was done as out-patient in the urologist’s office, with local anesthetic. No pre-procedure enema was required. First, the doctor inserted a narrow lubricated ultrasound scope up my rectum. The key is that the doc did this Very, Very Slowly. No problem, no pain. Then a small dose of quick-acting surface anesthetic was applied to the rectum wall facing the prostate, similar to the first anesthetic dab at a dentist. Then a needle anesthetic was applied to that same spot to provide broader internal anesthetic coverage. Again, similar to a dental anesthesia procedure.

Then twelve core samples were taken, via a spring-loaded needle extracting small amounts of tissue from different sample locations throughout the prostate. I learned that the samples were neither evenly spaced nor randomly distributed throughout the geography of the prostate, but rather concentrated where prostate cancer is typically found. I learned there is some “art” to this process of hunting for cancer in the prostate. The taking of each sample felt only like a small “bump” on my prostate, with a “clicking” noise, but no pain or discomfort.

The actual process took less than 15 minutes, with the whole appointment less than one hour. I felt fine enough after to go on with an otherwise normal day. No lingering pain. I did have a little blood in my urine continuing for about five days after the biopsy. No bowel movement problems. No apparent blood in stool. I had a slightly elevated temperature (high 99’s) for about three days. I learned that staying very well hydrated helps flush out the bladder and any lingering blood and little micro-clots. Antibiotic pill the day before, day of, and day after biopsy.

Alas, the biopsy results came back positive. Although this sounds perverse, I was actually relieved at the positive results, because I just “knew” that prostate cancer was there, based on my PSA value and its fast rise in one year. Had the doc not found it this time, I would have had to wait a few more months for another biopsy, thus delaying needed treatment. I am now two weeks past a successful DaVinci Robotic prostatectomy surgery, but that will be the subject of another post.

Summary: Don’t fear or delay a prostate biopsy, if at all indicated. It could save your life. Corollary: Have your PSA checked very regularly.

About me: 58 years old, otherwise fit and healthy, no meds, PSA 5.1 Jan-2011, +2.6 in 1-year; Biopsy Feb-2011, 3 of 12 cores positive, 25-30 % cancer in those three cores, Gleason 4+3=7 (left & right); CT scan and bone scan Mar-2011, clean; DaVinci Robotic surgery Apr-2011, pathology organ-confined, negative margins, lymph nodes and seminal vesicles clean, Gleason downgraded to 3+4=7 left, 3+3=6 right, cancer ~ 5% of total prostate volume.

lewvino's picture
Posts: 1010
Joined: May 2009

Welcome to the forum and sorry to read about your diagnosis. So many men have different experiences with the treatment aspect of fightging the cancer and with the Biopsy experience!

Glad yours went so smooth. My biopsy was better then I thought it would be but I would not call it as you did no pain or discomfort. It was tolerable. My college roommate just went through biopsy experience about 1 month ago (no cancer found) and they pretty much knocked him out. A friend of mine from church got a severe infection from the biopsy and spent 2 or 3 days in the hospital fighting the infection.

This should not discourage anyone from getting the biopsy. The results of an untreated cancer could be far worse in the long run.

Best wishes to you on your journey!

Lewvino (larry)

Posts: 72
Joined: Aug 2010

My experience with 2 different doctors and 4 biopsy's was totally different no pain relief and each time they pulled the trigger was like a kick in the groin that wasn't a dead center hit but still HURT. LAST TIME DOCTOR LIED PROMISED 6 SAMPLES AND STILL TOOK 12. would I have them again, of course they used the dreded fear cancer as incentive. I finally have a urologist I trust and things are going much better now but beware of some docs out there, they will hurt you.

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2011

My biopsy was done without any form of anesthetic. There was very little discomfort. The needle firing felt like a rubber band snap.

Posts: 1013
Joined: Mar 2010

I didn't have any problems w/the biopsy procedure. No anesthetic, no pain and no blood in stools or urine. However, my PSA spiked to over 29 from 4.8 after the procedure which freaked me out but came back down to about pre-biopsy level about 6 months later.

A biopsy is a necessary evil in determining if you have PCa or not. However, like PSA tests, it is not 100% accurate and you can get false negatives. The procedure itself "may" also contribute to the migration of cancer cells and can cause infection.

So, it is not w/o risks but unfortunately there currently is no better way to determine if you actually have PCa or not.

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