If you have previously been diagnosed with early or locally advanced prostate cancer, you may be attending the hospital or your GP for regular check-ups and blood tests. If you develop new symptoms, you will have tests to see if the cancer has spread. These will usually include a PSA test and a bone scan. Other tests will depend on your symptoms.
Some men are found to have advanced prostate cancer after being investigated for bone pain. If you have bone pain, but no other symptoms, your GP may first arrange for you to have an x-ray or scan of the painful area. The scans you may have include a bone scan, CT scan or MRI scan.
If these suggest a secondary cancer in the bones, you will have further tests to find out where the cancer started.
The following tests may be done to help diagnose advanced prostate cancer:
A sample of blood is taken to check for PSA (prostate-specific antigen). PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and a small amount is normally found in the blood. Men with cancer of the prostate tend to have more PSA in their blood.
In most men with advanced prostate cancer, the PSA level will usually be high, although this is not always the case. Once the cancer has been treated, the PSA level is likely to fall. Measuring the PSA levels can help to assess the cancer and see how well treatment is working.