The SECRET risks of a common prostate procedure
Guys, your urologist won’t tell you this. He won’t admit it, and he won’t even talk about it unless you ask.
And if you DO ask about the safety of that “just-in-case” prostate biopsy he wants to perform, he’ll swear up and down that it’s safe and easy.
When it’s all over, he’ll be able to confirm that your low-risk tumor is indeed in no danger of turning aggressive, and you’ll be on your merry way.
Sounds good, right?
Well, don’t rush in for that biopsy yet. It’s not nearly the safe and easy procedure your doctor has claimed.
And in some cases, it can be far more dangerous than the cancer itself!
A new report on Medscape highlights the shadowy world of unreported side effects and complications.
The biopsy procedure itself can cause an infection and one of the most frightening conditions of all -- sepsis, a complication of infection that can be FATAL even if you get immediate help!
The new report finds that 1 in 20 biopsy patients suffer from dangerous infections, including sepsis. And among just prostate cancer patients, there’s reason to believe that the numbers may be even higher.
EVERY infection is serious. But in the case of prostate patients, the stakes are especially high: A 2011 study found that men hospitalized due to a prostate biopsy infection are 12 TIMES more likely to die.
That’s right. The cancer might not hurt you… but the biopsy might KILL you!
Yet urologists still push biopsies too often. In many ways, the age of “active surveillance” might’ve made it worse: With fewer men seeking aggressive treatments, specialists are trying to pick up the slack with extra biopsies and other procedures.
Seems that at least some of them are more concerned about making up for lost business than doing what’s best for their patients!
And that’s just one risk. Even without infection, some men can suffer from other problems, including pain that can linger.
None of this means never get a biopsy.
But it does mean to be smart about it: Many low-risk cancers DON’T need a biopsy, just a doctor who can help keep watch over the tumor to ensure that it never turns aggressive.
If you’re on the fence, sometimes an MRI and/or ultrasound alone can give your doctor the information you both need to make the best decision without the help of a biopsy.
And if it turns out that you really do need that biopsy, there are steps you can take to minimize pain and cut the risks, including a direct MRI-guided biopsy.