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Prostate Biopsy Doesn't Have to Be Painful

Targeted anesthesia can minimize discomfort, research shows

THURSDAY, Sept. 14, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Pain during prostate biopsy can be reduced by injecting an anesthetic at certain points, according to a new study out of the Mayo Clinic.

Prostate biopsies are commonly performed on men who have had abnormal digital rectal exams or elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, both of which look for prostate cancer.

A new study to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the North Central Section of the American Urological Association, in San Diego, found that about 16 percent of patients experience a moderate or higher level of pain during their biopsy.

For this study, researchers recruited 243 men scheduled to undergo a prostate biopsy and assigned them to receive an anesthetic to reduce pain at one of three locations.

The men who received the anesthetic injection at the prostate apex -- the part of the prostate closest to the urethra -- and surrounding rectal tissues had the best pain relief.

"Prostate biopsy evokes significant anxiety for some men due to anticipated pain associated with the procedure," Richard Ashley, Mayo Clinic urology resident and lead study investigator, said in a prepared statement.

"Patients should request that anesthetic be used at the time of a biopsy, and pain control should be the standard of care in a urologist's office," he said.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Sept. 14, 2006
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