Your doctor will order a transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) procedure if your digital rectal exam indicates a likelihood of cancer, regardless of your PSA results. During this procedure, a probe is inserted into the rectum, which directs sounds waves onto the prostate. The image of your entire prostate that is created is then viewed on a monitor. There is not a good correlation between the image seen and the presence or absence of cancer, so the procedure is used in conjunction with a needle biopsy to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
The Section of Urology at Virginia Mason in Seattle is fortunate to have research in ultrasound technology, sponsored in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which allows the urologist to identify and target sites within the prostate gland that have a high risk of harboring prostate cancer. This research is aimed at identifying prostate cancer at its earliest stage while minimizing the risk of missing the disease through random prostate sampling. Men undergoing biopsy at Virginia Mason will be able to participate in the clinical trial, which will allow the urologist to see areas in the prostate that are believed to harbor the prostate cancer. The urologist can then take the biopsy from that region of the prostate.