The UCSF-John Muir Health Jean and Ken Hofmann Cancer Center at the Behring Pavilion is now open.  LEARN MORE >

Urologic Cancer Diagnosis

Because we have treated many patients with urological conditions, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to accurately diagnose your cancer and move quickly into treatment.

Depending on the type of urological cancer that is suspected, we have a number of diagnostic tests we may run to determine the nature and extent of the cancer.

Our goal is to quickly make an accurate diagnosis so we can begin treatment immediately.

Blood Tests – If prostate or testicular cancer is suspected, blood tests may be used to detect the presence of certain proteins or hormones that could be indicative of cancer.

Imaging Tests – Sophisticated imaging tools like computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, or ultrasound are often used to detect if a solid mass is present and has spread to other sites. Imaging tests are used to test for cancers of the bladder, kidney, prostate, and testicles.

Cytoscope – To help us diagnose bladder cancer, we may insert a flexible camera-equipped cytoscope through the urethra into the bladder to examine this area.

Intravenous Pyelography (IVP) – For this painless, specialized x-ray procedure, a dye is injected into a vein that flows through the urinary system making it easier for us to assess the kidney and bladder.

Biopsy Procedures – Biopsies, in which a sample of tissue is removed and evaluated, are often used to confirm if prostate or testicular cancer is present.

Targeted MRI/Ultrasound Fusion - MRI technology combined with the standard ultrasound imaging from the trans-rectal ultrasound prostate exam to create a 3D roadmap of the patient’s prostate exposing areas that were previously not visible during traditional ultrasound screening. This thorough diagnostic technology has led to the discovery of early stage tumors improving the patient’s prognosis and treatment options.

The technology combines two systems, the DynaCAD for Prostate and the UroNav fusion biopsy system. This advanced technology fuses pre-biopsy MR images of the prostate with ultrasound guided biopsy images in real time, for excellent visualization and targeting of the possible prostate cancer. It is poised to become the new standard in prostate care.


  • A normal Prostate MRI is 90 percent accurate for excluding the presence of prostate cancer. A normal MRI may eliminate the need for a prostate biopsy, avoiding the discomfort and small risk associated with a biopsy.
  • Prostate MRI can potentially identify specific areas within the gland that are suspicious and require further evaluation.
  • Performing biopsy with MRI/ultrasound fusion guided is more accurate in targeting the suspicious areas, which may have been “hiding” in the prostate.
  • Finding cancer early means treatment begins earlier and outcomes are better.

Who is a candidate?

  • Patients with elevated Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) level 4 or greater.
  • Patients with prior negative trans-rectal ultrasound guided biopsy with continued elevation or rising PSA.
  • Patients with positive digital rectal examination with negative trans-rectal ultrasound guided biopsy.

Learn about urologic and prostate cancer treatment options