An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses magnets to create a detailed picture of your prostate and the surrounding tissues.
In many hospitals you may have a special type of MRI scan, called a multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) scan, before having a biopsy. This can help your doctor see if there is any cancer inside your prostate, and how quickly any cancer is likely to grow. In other hospitals, you may have a biopsy first, followed by an MRI scan.
If you had an MRI scan before your biopsy that showed your cancer hasn't spread outside the prostate, you may not need another MRI scan. But if your doctor thinks your cancer may have spread, or if you didn't have an MRI scan before your biopsy, you may have one. It will show whether the cancer has spread outside the prostate and where it has spread to. It will also help your doctor to work out the most suitable treatment options for you.
If you’ve recently had a biopsy, you may need to wait four to six weeks before you have an MRI scan. This is because the biopsy can cause bruising and bleeding around the prostate, which could affect the scan results.
Read our information on what MRI scans involve and what the results mean.