Prostate Cancer Testing
Once, people whose PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test result was below 4 ng/ml typically considered themselves cancer free. Current studies show that this is not the case. Depending on the PSA level, the probability of having cancer can be as high as 30%. The opinion of the medical establishment is that these are generally small cancers, that do not justify undergoing biopsies.
It was thought that it was just as important to track changes in PSA levels, and that if the annual change was greater than 2 ng/ml, it was important to get checked without delay. However, a major study published in 2011 shows that the velocity of increase does not provide an additional valid criterion to warrant a biopsy.
Consequently, you may want to consider waiting and tracking the PSA increase, before taking further radical action. There is a risk-benefit payoff that each person needs to consider, in consultation with a knowledgeable physician.
More recently, the entire issue of treating prostate cancer resulting from PSA testing has been called into question. For every prevented death, 48 people would be treated leading to much suffering with unpleasant side effects. Treating (or not treating) is truly a personal decision, and we hope this information provides some background for you to make such a crucial decision together with your physician.
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Last Modification - May 1, 2011