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Accuracy of the PSA test

Posted 14 Nov 2016 at 17:37

I am now 73. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012 and successfully treated by RT in 2013. I count myself very lucky because I previously had a bladder condition which requires me to self catheterise. For this reason I have been PSA tested every 6 months so the cancer was diagnosed very early and I'm absolutely fine now.

My query is this: The PSA test is widely condemned as unreliable. The NHS website says the test can be affected by sexual activity in the 24 hours before the blood is taken. I HAVE NEVER been told this by any of the many NHS staff involved in my tests or care. Indeed when I had my most recent test I asked the booking receptionist,the nurse taking the blood and also my health centre nurse if they were aware. None of them knew.

Could it be that the tests are widely wrong for this reason? I'd love to know of anyone else's experience.


Posted 14 Nov 2016 at 19:42

My GP always said to me "No sex, No cycling the week before". My PSA was a bit erratic but that could have been because of a mild chronic infection that I have in a non cancerous bit of my prostate.

Posted 14 Nov 2016 at 19:44

Hello ogt and welcome to the site.

I'm sure you'll get some comments re the PSA.

I don't remember my husband ever being told about temporary rises through intercourse and discovered it here, along with the knowledge of a rise if the PSA test has just followed cycling.


We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
Posted 14 Nov 2016 at 20:41

Hi Adrian, orgasm and cycling can raise the PSA for about 48 hours afterwards but it is thought to be a difference of less than 10% so at very low numbers is rather irrelevant. Having a DRE raises the PSA by more than that.

My husband was always reminded of this but the doctor didn't say 'don't do these things' - he was more interested in consistency & wanted John to try to do the same things as much as possible. So if he went out on his bike this time but not last time, we have to try to remember that and not panic if there is a tiny rise in the PSA as it is probably temporary.

To be fair to your doctors, your zapped prostate no longer produces ejaculate so sex is unlikely to make a huge difference to your test results!

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 15 Nov 2016 at 08:56

I was slightly amused at my very first urology appointment when after doing a DRE he then told me to join the queue for a PSA blood test. The PSA had risen from 4 a couple of weeks before to 6 one hour after the DRE....

But yes, best to refrain from sex for a few days before the test.

Posted 31 Jul 2017 at 17:13

Copied below is a PM I have received from jegac22. This person is a scammer.

[Spam post contents removed by Moderator] 


Edited by moderator 01 Aug 2017 at 09:51  | Reason: Not specified

Posted 31 Jul 2017 at 17:44

I also received this late afternoon today

Posted 31 Jul 2017 at 17:44

I must be extra special , I got 2 copies !!

Posted 31 Jul 2017 at 17:47

I've just read my copy.

Posted 31 Jul 2017 at 17:48
Hi everyone,

Thanks to everyone who has reported this person. The account in question has been removed from the community.

Best wishes,


Digital Manager

Prostate Cancer UK



Posted 01 Aug 2017 at 03:28

Oh how unfortunate, just as I was looking forward to my 'gift' LOL!!

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