Many men do not experience any symptoms during the early stages of prostate cancer. Early detection requires annual visits to your doctor for a physical including a digital rectal exam, and PSA test.
American Cancer Society - How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Canadian Cancer Society - Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
Accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer has a number of steps, which may vary depending on the severity of the suspected disease. These may include routine screening tests like a PSA test or Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). Or it may involve tests such as PCA3 test, CT scan, Bone Scan, or MRI. All of these tests are described in this section.
Routine screening for prostate cancer is common for men above the age of 50 years old. If a family history is significant, screening may begin earlier. Screening includes measuring levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood, and getting a digital rectal exam (DRE). Both of these tests may be performed during a routine check-up.
If either the DRE or PSA test produce an abnormal result that is suspicious for prostate cancer, it is possible your doctor will order a PCA3 test. This is a urine test that may also be administrered during a routine check up, and is specific to prostate cancer. If all of these tests are suspicious for prostate cancer, a biopsy will be ordered to determine whether or not cancer is present. Tissue from your biopsy will be analysed to assign a clinical stage and grade to your cancer.
Further tests might be ordered if more information is needed about your cancer. Your doctor may need to look at whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Additional tests may include CT scan, MRI or bone scan.