We have talked about how rising PSA levels can be an indicator of developing prostate cancer. These levels, however, usually go down after treatment, because prostate cancer in the majority of cases is treatable. Furthermore, it doesn’t usually return either.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where cancer can become recurring even after initial treatment. In fact, this can happen to 25%-33% of men with prostate cancer, at times even after surgery or radiation.
Although some of the men that have recurring prostate cancer can undergo further treatment resulting in a cure. Others sometimes develop prostate cancer that is incurable, however, it would remain treatable for a significantly long time.
It is important to talk about all aspects of prostate cancer. Hence why today we will be looking into the aforementioned cases.
What can I ask my health care team about rising PSA levels post-treatment?
It’s important to stay informed throughout the process of prostate cancer treatment and beyond. Some of the questions we have outlined below are good examples of where to start the conversation post-treatment with your health care team:
- What is my PSA level now and how are we monitoring changes?
- My PSA levels are rising, what does this mean?
- What does an increase in velocity or doubling time of my PSA say about my prognosis?
- Should I undergo hormone therapy? What are the pros and cons of this treatment?
- Are there other options for treatment besides hormone therapy? Are there ways to curb the side effects of hormone therapy?
Rising PSA levels post-treatment
Once doctors have finished their surgery, PSA levels should be undetectable at this stage. Although it wouldn’t quite reach zero, due to measurements confusing other proteins for PSA. There is a minimum level that would imply a recurrence of prostate cancer after surgery. That falls around 0.2ng/mL and above throughout a minimum of two tests.
In the case, however, of radiation therapy, typically, PSA levels do not drop to zero. As there should naturally be some in the body where normal prostate tissue endures. So the PSA levels that might indicate a recurrence are a little higher in this case. That would be around 2ng/mL and over.
In the following article, we will discuss what further treatment options are available if PSA levels rise after treatment.
Check our resources section for further information. Where you can also find inspiration from success and survival stories, or we can help you connect with a prostate cancer survivor.
Or if you are interested in joining any support groups check out one of our earlier posts. Here we discuss the benefits of prostate cancer support groups and finding the right one for you.
If you have any questions, or just want to talk, call us at our toll-free hotline: 1(833)HEAL-MEN. You are not alone in this journey. We are here to help guide and support you through it, every step of the way.