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Understanding PSA levels

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 08:01

Hi,  I have just recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer,  I gave my CT and Bone scan next week, then they will decide whether a biopsy is needed and what treatment would be best.

Can someone explain PSA levels and what they mean please. My PSA level is 110.

Thank you

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 15:13

PSA level tends to increase with age regardless of various reasons for it happening. But the figure of 110 is unusually high for it being something else. Best really not to speculate but wait for a complete diagnosis and if indeed you have PCa the treatment you will be offered. Treatment options are influenced largely by how advanced any cancer is, although other factors are taken into account too.

Treatment for PCa has improved over recent years and continues to do so and for men who have a confirmed diagnosis we recommend downloading or obtaining a hard copy of the 'Tool kit' as here: https://shop.prostatecanceruk.org//our-publications/all-publications/tool-kit?limit=100

Let us know how tests go and what is said and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have.

Edited by member 26 Jun 2021 at 15:14  | Reason: Not specified

Barry
User
Posted 27 Jun 2021 at 18:49
So it seems it has been assumed from your high PSA figure and any tests done so far that you have PCa and this is highly likely. However, as has been said previously on this forum, a very few men who have high PSA of the sort of order of yours, have not been found to have PCa. Furthermore, the definitive confirmation of PCa comes through biopsy, and this has not yet taken place and may not be done if the further CT and bone scan evidence is overwhelming. I therefore suggest you await the results of all the scans and biopsy, if done, to get a complete diagnosis, which you don't have at this point in time. Nevertheless, I think it would be sensible to prepare for treatment and you will find the previously referred to 'Tool Kit' helpful in this regard.
Barry
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User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 13:53
Well, my only expertise is thanks to my own cancer. I had a PSA level of 18 when I was referred to the Urology Dept of my local hospital. I was told the 4 is the 'threshold' level. Above that, and you need further investigation. That said, I was also told that the PSA level is a fairly poor indicator of prostate cancer, which is why people have the digital rectal exam., the mra scan, the bone scan, the biopsy et al. So I wouldn't make any assumptions just yet. A high PSA can be caused by things other than prostate cancer. You will know the situation in a week or two. If it is prostate cancer, don't panic. Treatment is relatively straightforward, whichever of the options you go for.

regards,

Hermit

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 14:48

Thank you for that information Hermit, lessens my anxiety a lot. The doctor did say it is malignant just by feeling it. But like you say they should know more after the scans etc.

Ian

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 15:13

PSA level tends to increase with age regardless of various reasons for it happening. But the figure of 110 is unusually high for it being something else. Best really not to speculate but wait for a complete diagnosis and if indeed you have PCa the treatment you will be offered. Treatment options are influenced largely by how advanced any cancer is, although other factors are taken into account too.

Treatment for PCa has improved over recent years and continues to do so and for men who have a confirmed diagnosis we recommend downloading or obtaining a hard copy of the 'Tool kit' as here: https://shop.prostatecanceruk.org//our-publications/all-publications/tool-kit?limit=100

Let us know how tests go and what is said and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have.

Edited by member 26 Jun 2021 at 15:14  | Reason: Not specified

Barry
User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 15:16

Thank you Barry will download the kit.

Ian

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 15:55

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member

Can someone explain PSA levels and what they mean please. My PSA level is 110.

I was told at diagnosis (with 4.7) that "as a 50-year-old with a PSA of between 4 & 10 you have a 25% chance of having prostate cancer".

It's apparently a fairly poor screening indicator, but it's all we currently have. So I took my biopsy and was glad that I did.

Where PSA really comes into its own is after treatment - particularly after surgery if you have your prostate removed, you should have very low or even undetectable PSA. In that case, it's a really good indicator of whether or not you have a recurrence.

I think it's a similar thing after other treatments, but to a different extent. (Others will chip in about that, I'm sure).

Hope this helps a bit

_____

Two cannibals named Ectomy and Prost, all alone on a Desert island.

Prost was the strongest, so Prost ate Ectomy.

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 16:01

Thank you Alex

User
Posted 26 Jun 2021 at 20:39

As a point of reference, my consultant told me that 1 in 5 men 40 & over have a form of prostate cancer, that most men over 60 have it and that all men over 80 have it. As you may have read elsewhere, most prostate cancer is slow growing, with a single slow growing prostate cancer cell taking over 400 days to form. So, a 1 cm lesion on a prostate could be over 40 years old. It does appear to be quite common , with Japanese researchers having found some late 20/ early 30 year olds in Japan with early formation prostate cancer. Furthermore, American research suggests that 2 in 5 men 40 & over (40%) already have prostate cancer, based on autopsies of men of that age that have died of causes other than prostate cancer. In the past, 40 or more years ago, most men were not aware they had prostate cancer and usually died of something else. In short, most men die with rather than of prostate cancer

That said, it is important if you have a higher than normal PSA reading (anything over 4 is deemed to be cause for some concern) to have your prostate checked to determine the state of play so that action can ,if necessary be taken.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple of months ago ( my journey is listed on these message boards) and at the moment I am on Active Surveillance. If my condition changes (e.g. my PSA increases), I may then decide  to undergo the most appropriate treatment.  

 

Edited by member 26 Jun 2021 at 20:42  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 27 Jun 2021 at 01:16
I think a couple of posters have misread your info Ian - no point telling you to wait for the results when you have already been diagnosed! With a PSA of 110 the medics have presumably explained to you that there is a high chance that the cancer has spread - maybe to bones or lymph nodes which is why they are arranging these additional scans. They do sometimes try to avoid doing a biopsy if they have already seen evidence that you have cancer.

Once they know whether it has spread elsewhere, they will be able to decide a treatment plan. If it has spread, you will be given hormones to starve the cancer, and possibly you will be offered chemo as well. The chemo doesn't kill prostate cancer but it does usually make the hormones more effective for longer.

If it hasn't spread they may suggest surgery or some type of radiotherapy.

Some men live for many years, even with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. We have men on this forum who are still here 10 and 15 years later.

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

User
Posted 27 Jun 2021 at 01:30

Hi Lyn,

Thank you for that info. The doctor didn't tell me there was already a high chance it has spread, only that that most certainly that I had cancer. I was left very much in the dark and had to find my own answers.

Fingers crossed that I have a few years of life left.

Ian

User
Posted 27 Jun 2021 at 18:49
So it seems it has been assumed from your high PSA figure and any tests done so far that you have PCa and this is highly likely. However, as has been said previously on this forum, a very few men who have high PSA of the sort of order of yours, have not been found to have PCa. Furthermore, the definitive confirmation of PCa comes through biopsy, and this has not yet taken place and may not be done if the further CT and bone scan evidence is overwhelming. I therefore suggest you await the results of all the scans and biopsy, if done, to get a complete diagnosis, which you don't have at this point in time. Nevertheless, I think it would be sensible to prepare for treatment and you will find the previously referred to 'Tool Kit' helpful in this regard.
Barry
User
Posted 27 Jun 2021 at 18:52

Yes Barry

Just prepare myself in case of worse case scenario, but fingers crossed it won't be the case.

Ian

 

 
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