getting back on topic....
To be clear: A PSA test doesn't mean you won't need surgery. It could very well lead to that, but, surgery is not the only option. It depends, and only you and your doctor can decide the best course of action. For me, surgery (twice) was the only option - my age and extent of cancer demanded it. I had the daVinci procedure.
Have your PSA checked once a year starting at age 40. It provides you with critical information (PSA Velocity) that can't be derived any other way. There are recent publications decrying the use of PSA tests and PSA Velocity. It is important to note that these (bean counter) critics are claiming that this can lead to unnecessary biopsies - NOT that this test fails at detecting cancer. For example:
"If prostate biopsy is based on PSA velocity alone, the number of unnecessary biopsies would be almost four times the number of additional cancers diagnosed, data from a large clinical trial showed.
I'd sure like to know who funds these "studies". Bet a six-pack it's the insurance industry. In the last three years of this ordeal, I've never spoken with any health care professional that calls this stuff "unnecessary" testing. Bunk.
No doctor worth seeing will order a biopsy based on one metric. That's just silly, but, PSA Velocity taken into account with other tests (PSA, Free PSA, etc) can lead to a prostate biopsy. It's prudent medicine. In my case, I went through three months of various testing before my first biopsy. I'll admit - a prostate biopsy is no walk in the park. The biopsy came back that I was T1c (upper limit of stage 1). After surgery they always send out the organ removed for pathology. Those test, which are definitive, came back that I was actually T2c - the next step up that ladder is metastasizing. I was in much worse shape than any test detected.
A PSA test is not perfect, and certainly not the end-all test for prostate cancer, but it is an important indicator. If it leads to a prostate biopsy that you don't need - be thankful you don't have cancer instead of worrying about "unnecessary testing".
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