Tracking your progress
Your care team will rely on a number of tests to see how you’re doing during treatment, including:
Routine blood tests: These include a CBC (complete blood count), blood chemistry tests and tests for blood lipids, blood sugar and sex hormone levels. The results can indicate anemia (low red blood cells), neutropenia (low white blood cells) and low platelets, which can tell your doctor if you are able to receive chemo.
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test: Used to diagnose prostate cancer, your PSA levels are tracked throughout treatment to indicate whether your treatment is successfully slowing your cancer.
Testosterone level checks:
This test is sometimes used to diagnose prostate cancer. Testosterone levels may also be tracked during treatment to determine whether your regimen is working to slow your cancer.
X-rays: Used to show tumors in the body.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) test: Men on hormone therapy or chemotherapy may need this test to monitor their levels of the androgen DHT.
Needle biopsy: May be performed to get more information if an X-ray shows abnormal areas.
Circulating tumor cells (CTC) test: A blood test that checks to
see if tumor cells are circulating in your blood.
Urine test: Often given at the same time as the CBC, this test looks for several things, including how well your liver and kidneys are performing during treatment.
CT scan: An imaging technique that provides detailed pictures of areas inside the body.
MRI: A scan that uses a magnet and radio waves to take pictures of areas inside the body.
Ultrasound: A test that uses sound waves to take pictures of areas inside the body.
Bone scan: Used to detect tumors that have spread in the bone; radioactive material is injected and collects in areas of the bone where tumors are.
Seminal vesicle biopsy: Removal of tissue from seminal vesicles (glands that produce semen) using a needle to check for cancer cells.