The ultrasound examination is made by a physician who inserts the ultrasound transducer a short distance into the rectum. The method is painless and does not require any preparation. The ultrasound will show the form, size and structure of the prostate gland. Ultrasound guidance allows the doctor to obtain precisely located and identified biopsies, if the ultrasound indicates that there may be cancer in the prostate.
Why prostate ultrasound imaging?
The usual conditions affecting the prostate are benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer and prostate inflammation. BPH and cancer are conditions primarily of males above 50 years of age, but prostate inflammation (prostatitis) occurs also among young men.
The first symptom of BPH and prostate cancer are similar – disturbed urination. Urination takes longer than before, there are difficulties starting urination and a need to urinate night time. The most common symptoms of prostatitis are pain that radiates to the lower part of the abdomen, the groins and the back, and often also to the testicles and urethra.
As the average age of the population is increasing, the number of men with urination problems due to BPH is increasing. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in Finland. In 1995, there were 2 357 new cases of prostate cancer and currently the figure is about 5000 annually.
The reasons for the increased occurrence of prostate cancer are not fully known. The growing numbers are certainly partly due to aging of the male population and also to improved diagnostics, but a real increase has also been taking place. The average age of men when they get prostate cancer is 71 years, but cancer of the prostate is still the most common form of cancer among middle-aged men.
It is important for a man to understand why urination problems and other symptoms have emerged, because one of the reasons may be cancer. The digital rectal examination (DRE) is still an important method to study the condition of the prostate, but this is often complemented by taking a blood test for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and to check the prostate with ultrasound.
A doctor’s referral for the examination is not needed. Ultrasound examinations of the prostate are performed at Aura Klinikka by Dr Esa Kähkönen and Dr Mikael Anttinen, both urologists