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Cancer: Prostate Message Board

Cancer: Prostate Board Index

Re: PSA test
Feb 24, 2001
Hi Ewilliam--

Sorry it took me so long to respond, but we've been spending our recent "worry alottment" on my mother-in-law who has had surgery....

But prior to her surgery, I went out and bought a bunch of books on prostate-related stuff and have been reading about the psa test...

Apparently it is a very controversial test and doctors have mixed feelings about it...all agree that it should only be used in conjunction with the other tests (digital exam, ultrasound and biopsy) for it to mean anything...These books say that doctors still are unsure of exactly what the psa results tell them....Usually, if a man has prostate cancer, his psa level is high. But not all men with high levels have cancer. (As I'm sure you know, 0-4 is good; 5-10 is borderline; above 10 is something to worry about.) HOWEVER, these books say that of the men whose psa level is above 10, only 65 percent are found to have prostate cancer! Often, they can find no reason that the other 35 percent have high levels.

These books mentioned infection as one reason for the high reading. But they also said that if you have sex up to 10 days before your test, it can show an elevated reading. Also, any "trauma" such as the digital rectal exam just before the test and a previous biopsy of the prostate can make you have elevated readings...The books didn't say how much time has to pass between the biopsy and the next psa test for the reading to be accurate...My husband's negative biopsy was in late October and his next psa test was in January, so that seems like enough time for it to heal completely, but who knows?? Also, I've heard that bike riding can affect the psa reading (my husband and I both bike a lot.)

What scared me from my readings was that both ultrasound and biopsies can miss prostate cancer in some cases...And the fact that my husband's psa level went from 6 to 11 between October and January worries me (Although it was 8 the first time he had the test)....The doctor has him scheduled for another psa test in early April, but I'm wondering if that's waiting too long?? What do you think???

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