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What Does PSA Mean?PSA is a blood test that is commonly used to help predict the presence of prostate cancer. It stands for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and refers to a protein first identified in 1979 that is made only by the prostate gland. It is currently used as a tumor marker and can also help monitor disease progression or lack of recurrent disease in patients who have previously undergone treatment for prostate cancer. A tremendous amount of confusion exists amongst patients and the popular press regarding PSA. Part of this lack of understanding has occurred because many think that an elevation in the PSA level means that one definitely has prostate cancer. In actuality, this is not true and this article should help clarify some of the confusion surrounding PSA testing. Most important is the “S” in PSA, which refers to the protein being specific to the prostate gland and not specific to cancer. Many conditions, both benign ...
A 62-year-old patient had surgery to remove his cancerous prostate gland about 6 years ago. Two years after surgery his PSA started to rise and now his PSA is 4.6 ng/ml.
I hate to say it but, it is clear that this patient has failed surgery and has "biochemical failure." In other words, his prostate was removed but there is something in his body making his PSA go up and probably more cancerous cells in his body. Even though he feels fine, this rise in PSA is the only sign that his prostate cancer is trying to return. There are two places were cancer can return: 1) in the pelvis where the prostate used to be located, or 2) elsewhere in the body, suggesting that the cancer has spread. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common problem. Up to 30% of men will not be cured by surgery alone and they will have a rise in their PSA months or years after the prostate is removed. That is why it is crucial for men to have their PSA checked on a regular basis after treatment.
There are f...
Dear Dr. Motola,
Four years ago I had surgery for a left inguinal
hernia, which unfortunately resulted in uncorrected internal post-op bleeding
causing ischemia and subsequent atrophy to the left testicle. Until
recently, I've never had my testosterone level checked against the reference
range. I am 83 years old and in very good health. I am told the normal
reference range is 200 to 900, hence my question ... is 259 good or bad
and is it dependent upon both testes functioning? My PSA level averages
3.5 and DRE tests are always normal. I have BPH. I am sexually active but not
as frequently as in the past.
start to fall after age 40. Symptoms
associated with decreased levels include memory loss, mood changes, depression,
increased fat mass, loss of muscle mass, and a decrease in sexual function. These
symptoms are also associated with the aging process. Many times patients may
experience some of these symptoms, h...
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