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Prostate Cancer

Higher PSA Following Radiation Treatment

09/15/2008

Question:

My husband was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer 14 years ago at the age of 45. He had his prostate removed and no further treatment. PSA was .1 for 10 years then it started to climb very slowly. A test was performed 12/07 that showed the cancer had begun to grow in the Prostate Bed - PSA was now 1.8. The recommendation was for my husband to have radiation which he did - 37 treatments.

My question is 6 weeks following the treatments PSA was 3.1 then 12 weeks later it was 2.9. Now 5 months following treatment my husbands PSA is 2.5 and the doctor said it is normal that maybe his PSA will stabilized in between 2.5 and 3. Can you please give me your opinion on the matter? I thought in the beginning that the PSA would be lower than when we began the radiation.

Answer:

After radiation that follows radical prostatectomy the PSA drops if the radiation destroyed the remaining prostate tissue. When the PSA rises and stays elevated the radiation has not destroyed all the prostate cancer. It thus seems that with a persistent PSA [not the 0.1 he had for years following surgery] that he has some prostate cancer and the radiation did not destroy it.

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Response by:

R Bruce  Bracken, MD R Bruce Bracken, MD
Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati