Prostrate Cancer PSA Test – It’s Not Always What They Say

October 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Test

Somebody stumbling across any literature – or even a conversation – on prostate cancer is sure to hear the term ‘PSA’ sooner than later. It’s because the prostate specific antigen (PSA) has become one of the standards for determining if a man has prostate cancer.

But PSA Test Can Be Inaccurate

But interestingly, there are too many things that are uncertain about the results obtained from a PSA test. For one, the fact that a man has a higher PSA count than is proper does not imply that he has prostate cancer, and the fact that a man has prostate cancer does not imply that his PSA levels will rise.

There are certain forms of prostate cancer, as a matter of fact, that specifically do not cause a rise in the level of prostate specific antigens in the blood of the patient while they are advancing. A small cell sarcoma is a brilliant example of this, one manifestation of the disease that is so difficult to catch that it is often quite advanced before that is done. Waiting to see a raised PSA count would certainly be a problem with something like that.

So why then is the PSA still so important?

Screening for prostate cancer is by no means a walk in the park, and the most definitive assurance of a diagnosis is rather invasive because of the poking of the organ by a needle. In order to lower expense and discomfort to the patient, other tests have to be conducted to see if the biopsy of the prostate is indeed called for.

Several other diseases cause a spike PSA count in the blood – and could raise it over the critical 4.0ng/ml that depicts if the patient might be in trouble or not. If this is the case, then the biopsy is justified; if it does not happen however, then the doctor may decide not to go ahead with the efforts to diagnoses the disease.

Once the patient has been confirmed to have prostate cancer, though, the PSA count certainly becomes important because it may now be used as some kind of barometer to determine the seriousness of the disease – it’s aggression and the level of its advancements – along with the results gotten from the biopsy (the Gleason score) and other tests that are generally conducted afterward, which include MRI scans, computer tomography (CT) scans, and ribonucleic bone scans.

During treatment, the PSA level of the patient is thus monitored for any sudden or drastic changes; even though it may mean nothing, at least it will help determine if more needs be done. In the meantime, researchers are looking for other less invasive yet more definitive ways to diagnose the disease.

Just recently we discovered what could be a more effective PSA Testing. We wrote an article about it. Click here to read about it.

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