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If your PSA levels are greater than zero after surgery, does this mean you have cancer?

ANSWER

A PSA level that is higher than it should be doesn't mean you definitely have cancer. Results can vary from person to person, and from lab to lab. PSA levels can go up and down, and they're different for each person. Even if you do still have prostate cancer or your cancer has come back, it may not spread for a long time. You may need more treatment, or you might be able to wait and have regular PSA tests to monitor your cancer.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Following PSA Levels During and After Prostate Cancer Treatment."

American Urological Association: "PSA Testing for the Pretreatment Staging and Posttreatment Management of Prostate Cancer."

British Journal of Medical and Surgical Urology : "PSA velocity and doubling time in diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer."

Harvard Medical School: "Immediate radiation when PSA levels spike after prostate cancer surgery helps reduce risk of recurrence."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Radical Prostatectomy," "Top Prostate Cancer Questions," "What Happens if PSA Comes Back After Surgery?"

Mayo Clinic: "PSA Test."

National Cancer Institute: "Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test."

NCCN: "Guidelines for Patients: Prostate Cancer."

Prostate Cancer Foundation: "PSA Rising."

Urology : "Timing of PSA nadir after radical prostatectomy and risk of biochemical recurrence."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Prostate Cancer: Screening."

Reviewed by Nazia Q Bandukwala on December 11, 2019

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Following PSA Levels During and After Prostate Cancer Treatment."

American Urological Association: "PSA Testing for the Pretreatment Staging and Posttreatment Management of Prostate Cancer."

British Journal of Medical and Surgical Urology : "PSA velocity and doubling time in diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer."

Harvard Medical School: "Immediate radiation when PSA levels spike after prostate cancer surgery helps reduce risk of recurrence."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Radical Prostatectomy," "Top Prostate Cancer Questions," "What Happens if PSA Comes Back After Surgery?"

Mayo Clinic: "PSA Test."

National Cancer Institute: "Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test."

NCCN: "Guidelines for Patients: Prostate Cancer."

Prostate Cancer Foundation: "PSA Rising."

Urology : "Timing of PSA nadir after radical prostatectomy and risk of biochemical recurrence."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Prostate Cancer: Screening."

Reviewed by Nazia Q Bandukwala on December 11, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

Are there tests that might better show if cancer has come back?

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