A doctor who specializes in diagnosing cancer and other tissue abnormalities (pathologist) will evaluate the prostate biopsy samples. The pathologist can tell if the tissue removed is cancerous and, if cancer is present, estimate how aggressive it is. Your doctor will explain the pathologist's findings to you.
Your pathology report may include:
- A description of the biopsy sample. Sometimes called the gross description, this section of the report might evaluate the color and consistency of the prostate tissue.
- A description of the cells. Your pathology report will describe the way the cells appear under the microscope. Prostate cancer cells may be referred to as adenocarcinoma. Sometimes the pathologist finds cells that appear abnormal but aren't cancerous. Words used to describe these noncancerous conditions include "prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia" and "atypical small acinar proliferation."
- Cancer grading. If the pathologist finds cancer, it's graded on a scale of 2 to 10 called the Gleason score. Cancers with a high Gleason score are the most abnormal and are more likely to grow and spread quickly.
- The pathologist's diagnosis. This section of the pathology report lists the pathologist's diagnosis. It may also include comments, such as whether other tests are recommended.