PSA blood test and Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know
Below you will find a Facebook post that my male cousin posted about PSA results concerning prostate cancer. His information is well thought out and very informative. Please take time to read the entire post to understand your Prostate Cancer Risks.
This is for my male friends or for anyone to pass on to their male friends. Last June my cousin notified me that my uncle was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was advised to pass it along to other siblings or cousins in the family. We talked a while and he was telling me about PSA levels. So while on the phone, I looked at my test results from my last physical 6 months earlier. My PSA was 3.5. The range is 0-4. Mine wasn’t flagged, so I thought I was in the range.
So I decided to go ahead and get my physical done for the year and mention it to my PCP. He was a little more observant during the DRE and said everything seemed completely in order with my prostate. So we did the normal blood work and the next day I see that my PSA is 4.5. Now it was flagged as elevated and he recommended seeing a urologist.
So I go a month later to see a urologist and we do another blood test. It dropped back to 4.1, but he recommended doing a biopsy. I was a little confused on this since I was barely over the threshold. I asked him since it dropped, should we do another test later to see if it dropped again. PSA levels can fluctuate for different reasons. A biopsy is not super risky, but does contain some risk.
We waited till Oct and did another PSA. It remained at 4.1. He recommended a biopsy again, but I wanted another opinion, since to me it was so close to the line. I went to another doctor for a second opinion and we did a 4K PSA test. This test takes 4 weeks to return results, so that got me into December. Those results showed that I was at a moderate risk for prostate cancer. This doctor was more informative and explained that even though I was barely over the threshold, my PSA should be more like a 1 or less for only being 50.
I had talked to several friends around my age and had them look at their PSA and it was less than 1. So I decided to go ahead and get a biopsy scheduled for Jan 5. I had no complications from the 12 sample biopsy and it was a fairly simple procedure. We met back Jan 13 and he informed me that they found cancer cells in 4 of the 12 samples. That sort of takes the wind out of your sails when you hear the word cancer.
The next step was CT and bone scans to see if the cancer had traveled outside of the prostate. So we did scans on Jan 25 and met back on Jan 28 with the results. The good news is that the cancer is contained to the prostate. Now I am having to decide on treatment. Either doing a removal of the prostate or radiation treatments. Both have pros and cons with side effects. I am still researching my options.
My goal of this post is to be sure all the males out there look at your numbers. Don’t rely on just your doctor to tell you about a potential issue with your numbers. They really need to change these results to a sliding scale since the numbers mean different things for different ages. I looked back to my first PSA result when I was 45 in 2017 and it was 3.1. This was already high for my age, but nothing was ever said about it until it crossed 4. Luckily this didn’t cause my cancer to spread, but could of been less severe if we found it 2-3 years ago. So, if you aren’t getting a yearly physical with blood work, do it. Look at your numbers. I had no physical reasons to indicate there was any problem at all with my prostate. This was all due to my elevated PSA.
The doctor did say your PSA is a great indicator, but you can still have cancer with lower PSA levels. So blood tests and physical exams are so important to catch this early. Just don’t wait until you have physical issues before checking it. If you start early with PSA tests, you will have a good baseline to reference to for watching jumps in your PSA level. My first test at 45 was already elevated, so I have no idea when that level surged prior to that. I would ask for a PSA test if you are at least 30. I have always had yearly physicals since my early 20s, but a PSA test wasn't done with my bloodwork until I was 45. Need that baseline to compare with. They have already drawn blood for other tests, so may as well get a PSA test result.
For more information on PSA and Prostate cancer check out this information at Cancer. com: