• What do fellow prostate cancer patients/survivors, feel about the PSA test, and its validity?

    Asked by MAGNUM1 on Thursday, October 13, 2011

    What do fellow prostate cancer patients/survivors, feel about the PSA test, and its validity?

    In recent months, there has been controversy in the medical field, concerning the value of the
    PSA test. The PSA test is a screening procedure, to determine the possibility of prostate cancer,
    through a blood draw. In a recent USA Today editorial, they supported the continued use of this test.
    An opposing opinion was also presented, which believed that it does more harm, than good.
    In 2004, I had my first PSA test at age 53; results came back 4.1 "Normal" highest range was 4.0
    My physician believed that "I didn't have a problem." But referred me to a urologist. To make a LONG story short: I ended up having very aggressive prostate cancer. I have survived 7 years now; after surgery and radiation treatments.

    The USA Today article basically said that, if the PSA saved lives, it is worth it.
    symptoms to reflect the cancer in my body.

    20 Answers from the Community

    20 answers
    • Afterglow's Avatar

      I agree the test saved my life, but I'm also in the same boat as Magnum1. My very aggressive prostate cancer was initially found with a PSA test and I'd had not symptoms in spite of a PSA of 23.4 . A well reasoned commentary on this is available from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF.org) where they support the continuation of the PSA test, but emphasis that it has to be part of an informed process with understanding of the implications. As PCF points out, it may not be the best, but it's what we have right now. On the PCF site is also an interesting article regarding a possible new test based on urine analysis that appears to be much more accurate, though still not 100%. Hopefully, it will prove out and be available in the near future.

      over 9 years ago
    • Indyeastside's Avatar

      Same here PSA test caught it right way for me. I tested 84 versus under .4 guideline. High stage III. Probably been too far gone without the test.

      over 9 years ago
    • toml's Avatar

      I had the PSA checked again after the boy I mentor who has the ability to sense things told me I had cancer. I kinda blew him off at first, saying I felt fine and I had it done the year before and it was good. My daughter is a phelbotitmus (spelling) she told me to get it done again, so I did, It was 6.93. I had the check and then a biopcy and he found it to be cancer. So I guess between the child telling me and the test, I got it in the early stage.

      over 9 years ago
    • flkid's Avatar

      mine was 2.4 but it went up .9 in a year and have a family history so I caught it in the early stage.

      The urine test is approved in the EU but not the US yet.

      I support having the psa test, the problem is that when it goes up slightly every year for men over 50, which is normal, there could be a overreaction.

      over 9 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar

      psa and another blood test are needed psa is just part of the puzzle a cdc and something else tell the story I think when it comes to fighting this XXX we need all the puzzle pieces and not just 1

      over 9 years ago
    • mgm48's Avatar

      Based on what I read, not a single urologist was on the panel that made the recommendation. If they remove the relatively inexpensive PSA blood test as a screening test, they are correct, there will be fewer biopsy related complications, BUT at what cost? Do we really want to wait until it is incurable like mine or save many from this S**ty prognosis?
      I think the doctors on the panel were bordering on being irresponsible or maybe their report was misunderstood.

      about 9 years ago
    • James' Avatar

      The PSA test is quick, inexpensive, and painless and can be an indication that further investigation is warranted. Especially if the rate of increase (termed the PSA velocity) is above normal for that patient and his prior history. The next steps would be a digital rectal exam (DRE) by a urologist not just a family physician (nothing personal guys) and if still suspicious then a biopsy...maybe uncomfortable for a day but able to definitively indicate the "level" or "stage" of cancer (termed a Gleason number). Then the real fun begins with "WhatNext"! So the PSA, I think, should continue to be a routine blood test for those of the appropriate age group or having a family history of this disease.

      about 9 years ago
    • Powrcessation's Avatar

      The new recommendation makes it more important than ever for men to quit tobacco at an early age.

      The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded last year that men with prostate cancer who are cigarette smokers at the time of their diagnosis are much more likely to die of the disease or experience a recurrence than nonsmokers, including former smokers who kicked the habit at least 10 years before diagnosis.

      There is a great article on this for those who are interested in what the new PSA recommendation means for men who smoke and their doctors:


      almost 9 years ago
    • n2jhawks' Avatar

      I am a strong advocate of the PSA tests. If my doctor hadnt ordered PSAs and I waited another year for my physical and possible PSA test then, my cancer would have spread to and become much more difficult to handle. I am 54 and my PSA went from below 4.0 to 13 in 2 years...after antibiotics, it rose to 15. This aggressive cancer led to my prostate surgery and now some radiation, but no traces of the cancer in my lymphs or bones.
      I understand the negative effects of the PSA, as many men can have prostate cancer and never die from it, suffering needless trauma such as incontinence, impotence, not to mention the biopsy and being thrust into a world where our "privates" are no longer private, but open for general scrutiny. I get that....for me, if the test hadn't been done, I would have a much bigger challenge ahead.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Fredfred's Avatar

      Without the PSA test I would not have known about my prostate cancer.
      It was caught very early and I was able to have it surgically removed.
      It has only been 8 months since surgery so I'm not yet certain of my future.
      So far, so good.

      over 8 years ago
    • fxmct71's Avatar

      I tested at 5.6 at 57 yrs old, second test 5.1, digital exam not conclusive, biopsy positive. Surgery in February 2012, last PSA .01, next blood test this week. Very glad we found this early as I had no symptoms and would not have known without PSA.

      over 8 years ago
    • MichaelV's Avatar

      I had a prostate PSA test for years. I was going to skip it 10 years ago as I lost my business and $14 million in savings and was filing for bankruptcy. I was really at a very low point with nothing going for me. I wanted some happy pills to easy the rotten personality I was developing. My doctor refused to write the prescription because I would not come in for my yearly exam which I had had at the same practice for over 50 years. I had no money, she said it is not about the money it is about your health. Well, I went in and she talked me into the full suite of tests. I found my PSA had gone from 0 to 9 in less than a year. Short story, by the time I would have had any symptoms it would have been too late to do much about it all and my life expediency would have been less than a year. All was removed and it came back 2 years later. Without the PSA test I would not have know what was happening as I have never had any symptoms. I have been on Lupron for almost 6 years and now have added Zytiga since December 1211.

      I now have another issue with Medicare, they want me to pay for my monthly (every 4 weeks) PSA exam when I go for my Lupron and/or Zometa infusion. I have no other way of knowing if things are working than the PSA test except for MRI or Cat scans which are a whole lot more expensive than the PSA test.

      I am all for PSA cheeking and will not vote for anyone who says it is not needed as It has now given me 9 extra years of life.

      Michael Metzger

      over 8 years ago
    • amccann1967's Avatar

      it saved my life, enough said for me.

      over 8 years ago
    • RichardD's Avatar

      PSA test found my cancer! How can anyone think this test is not good. I think many people would be in big(er) trouble if not for a PSA test. I felt great and had no symptoms. I am sure glad I had the PSA test.

      over 8 years ago
    • BruceG's Avatar

      Forget the DRE, The PSA test is invaluable! I was aged 47 with a PSA of 1.99. What's the big deal? Well, it was 1.6 six months earlier ,1.4 six months before that and 0.99 six months before that. Acceleration of that number over a short period of time was the clue. Neither my primary care physician nor two urologists sticking their fingers where the sun didn't shine were able to detect the tumor that was present. It's only because of regular PSA testing did we have reason to suspect any issues.

      almost 8 years ago
    • jDay's Avatar

      The PSA test is the best test we have for determining prostate cancer. This test and a biopsy (with accompanying Gleason scores) can determine the extent/severity of your cancer. Some men have delayed having the test, and their psa level has been very high and the cncer has spread to other parts of the body. I am a firm believer in early testing.

      over 7 years ago
    • LOUIS's Avatar

      I just beat prostate cancer stage 4. Who monitors my psa levels now?
      I have no drs.

      over 7 years ago
    • tomget's Avatar

      I'm still more unclear about the PSA than I'd like to be. When I was first referred to a urologist by my family doc because I had a somewhat moderate but steadily increasing PSA..i forget the exact numbers but i was till under 4 i think. I went along with it, but I also took a recent at that time (2 ys ago?) article about how tour USA Fed medical people were saying PSA is useless for the most part..or often. So i kept getting more PSA tests every 3 months or so from the urologist until he kinda got mad at me..and said so to speak..what are you waiting for..lets get the biopsy. So I went along with it grudgingly, but i had significant cancer results and shortly after had the prostate removed with what appears to have been good margins etc. robotic procedure. I don't think I ever got a PSA over 4.3? or somewhere around there(not crazy high) but the issue was the it was increasing with each test and before had been the same around 2+ for all my life prior.
      I had the prostetectomy Oct 2012, and i guess i was wrong and that I really did need it. But part of me still isn't certain about that. Maybe I could have lived until I died of something else first? I don't know. But part of my decision to get the treatment was that my died of cancer and other men in my family(relatives i was not really ever in touch with so don't know the specifics)...apparently had similar deaths in their late 60's so I thought i should go for it. I still get PSA tests every couple months. I don't even ask what the results are, but I see the urologist every 6 months or so and he says its very low..IDK.. less than 1? something like that.

      over 7 years ago
    • TomC's Avatar

      A PSA test test caught my problem early enough to have a complete cure with a radical prostatectomy but I kept putting off the biopsy.

      I waited to long and now I'm Stage IV with the cancer having metastasized from the prostate to lymph nodes to pelvis and spine. So now there is no cure, on delaying the inevitable.

      I am not only in favor of PSA testing but also for having a biopsy as soon as one is recommended by the urologist.

      over 6 years ago
    • hms03049's Avatar

      Yes, this is an old post but it deserves a bump.
      My GP did not do PSAs. Lucky for Me he retired. My new GP did, and my PSA was 5.7. My biopsy was positive with high grade cancer, Gleason 4/5 = 9. I've had surgery, ADT and soon radiation. I'm likely past the point of a cure. 30,000 men die a year from prostate cancer. The CDC recommendation is a good excuse to skip the PSA test, catching it while it is curable is a better reason to have the test. The PSA test is a extra box the Dr ticks on your annual blood test form, it's nothing more you have to do. Not another needle jab, line to wait in, or appointment to keep. It costs about $25 and insurance typically pays it.

      about 6 years ago

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