Several weeks ago the major news networks reported that men should consider not being tested for increased PSA levels. The reason given was that the side effects of a Prostate Cancer diagnosis and treatments were worse than the disease. From my own experience, I have to say that this is very poor advice. The real issue that many urologists just recommend limited options including surgery and standard IMRT radiation. Other options may be mentioned and are not highlighted.
It is very important for middle-aged men to have regular physical examinations. Men should have their PSA levels tested and also a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination). If PSA levels or the DRE indicate at the visit to the Urologist is in order, be sure to follow-up. The PSA level may affect the doctor’s decision to order a biopsy. In my case, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer after my blood work showed an elevated PSA level and after a biopsy.
The book “Prostate Cancer for Dummies” provides a very good overview about prostate cancer. It states that: “The PSA test helps your doctor identify the possible presence of prostate cancer by checking for prostate specific antigen which is present in high levels in many people who have prostate cancer.”
For men, a normal range is generally considered to be 4 nanograms per milliliter or lower.
PSA velocity should also be taken into account. The book also states that “If your PSA level was 1 last year and it’s now 2.4, your doctor has cause for concern.” This was true in my case since my PSA level had increased over the course of 18 months.
The key points for middle age men are to get checked regularly. If diagnosed with prostate cancer, be sure to carefully ask questions and review your options prior to making any treatment decisions.
The treatment option that I selected was Proton Therapy. My research found that with proton therapy, tumors are more precisely targeted while reducing the amount of radiation to healthy tissue. This minimizes the unpleasant side effect associated with surgery or conventional radiation. I had an excellent experience at the UF Proton Institute in Jacksonville, FL.
For more information about Proton Therapy and the UF Proton Institute visit:www.floridaproton.org
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