NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Prostate Cancer
Part 3: Treatment planning
A CT scan of your pelvis may show if your lymph nodes
are enlarged. Before the scan, you may need to drink
enough liquid to have a full bladder. A full bladder helps to
keep the bowel away so the prostate can be better seen.
During the scan, you will need to lie face up on a table.
The table will move through the imaging machine. A CT
scan takes many pictures of a body part from different
angles using x-rays. As the machine takes pictures, you
may hear buzzing, clicking, or whirring sounds.
You will be alone, but a technician will operate the
machine from a nearby room. He or she will be able to
see, hear, and speak with you at all times. One scan is
completed in about 30 seconds. A computer combines all
the x-rays to make detailed pictures.
Instead of a CT scan, a MRI can be used to see if your
lymph nodes are enlarged. MRI uses powerful magnets
and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of the body.
Getting an MRI is like getting a CT scan.
If the CT or MRI scan suggests that the cancer has
spread into your lymph nodes, a fine-needle aspiration
can confirm if cancer is present. A fine-needle aspiration
is a type of biopsy. It uses a very thin needle to remove
very small pieces of tissue. A CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound
machine is used to guide the needle into the lymph node.
With a local anesthetic, this test causes little discomfort
and doesn’t leave a scar.
Removal of tissue samples for testing
An organ that holds and expels urine from
The organs that food travels through after
leaving the stomach
A drug that causes a
feeling in a small area of the body
A small disease-fighting organ
The body area between the hipbones
= Computed tomography
= Magnetic resonance imaging