Is Prostate Biopsy Safe?

How safe is the prostate biopsy procedure?

prostate biopsyProstate biopsy is used to find cancer in the prostate gland. Tissue samples are needed in order to do so. During a prostate biopsy needles are inserted through the rectum to remove a small amount of tissue. Dr. Mark Scholz says this procedure is not entirely safe. The rectum is a very dirty place filled with bacteria.

Nearly 3% of prostate biopsies result in infection and one in one thousand cases can prove fatal. It is important that patients understand the risk before having the procedure done. For information on alternatives to prostate biopsy watch “Alternatives to Prostate Biopsy.”

Mark Scholz: Okay, prostate biopsy is a way to find prostate cancer. It is kind of an intrusive process It involves laying on your side and people actually put needles through your rectum, through your behind, and they remove small amounts of material. That is looked at under a microscope and that’s how they decide if a man has prostate cancer.

So, is this a safe thing to do? Well the rectum is a dirty spot and I tell you about 3% of the time, infections result and men can end up in the hospital sadly and there are rare cases of people even dying from biopsies. The risk is about 1:1000 and I am not talking about people doing the job badly, I am talking about when the doctors do everything properly, give antibiotics and they do everything according to the rules, men can still get infections, they can still end up in the hospital and rarely even die from biopsy.

So, biopsies are not intrinsically safe now, and there is another risk as well which I cannot address in detail but there are two types of prostate cancer and one kind is low grade and many argue that it is better not to not even know about it because it is not dangerous but it frightens people into unnecessary treatment. So, biopsies usually turn out well, but sometimes they can have very serious side effects.

Dr. Mark Scholz
A board-certified medical oncologist, Mark C. Scholz, MD, serves as medical director of Prostate Oncology Specialists Inc. in Marina del Rey, CA, a medical practice exclusively focused on prostate cancer. He is also the executive director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute He received his medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE, Dr. Scholz completed his Internal Medicine internship and Medical Oncology fellowship at University of Southern California Medical Center.
Dr. Mark Scholz

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