If you have a high PSA blood level (4 or higher),what are the best tests to determine if you have prostate cancer in Kingston, New York?

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is done to screen men for prostate cancer.  Because of PSA testing, most prostate cancers are now found before they cause any symptoms.

What are the benefits of PSA testing?

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made by the prostate cells.  When PSA is in the blood, it can be measured with a blood test called the PSA test.  In prostate cancer, more PSA gets into the blood than is normal and often PSA levels will begin to rise before there are any symptoms.

With a PSA result that is higher than 4 and lower than 10, you have a 25% chance of prostate cancer.  If your PSA level is higher than 10, the chance that you have prostate cancer is high.  If your PSA level is higher than 4, there are two tests that can be done to determine whether you have prostate cancer: a prostate biopsy and a prostate MRI.

What is a prostate biopsy?

For a biopsy, small tissue samples are taken directly from the prostate gland.  The doctor is hoping to get a sample of cancer cells which are on the prostate gland and hence, he/she will take samples from different areas of the prostate to make an accurate diagnosis.  If the tumor is small enough, it can be missed during the prostate biopsy.

Tissue from the prostate is viewed under a microscope.  Biopsy results are reported using a Gleason score, which will tell you how aggressive the cancer might be.  The higher the Gleason score, the more likely the cancer is to have spread beyond the prostate gland.  A Gleason score between 2 and 4 is a low grade cancer; 5-7 is an intermediate grade (most prostate cancers are in this range); and 8-10 is a high grade cancer.

Cancerous cells are shaped and arranged differently than healthy cells.  The more differentiated cancerous cells are from healthy cells, the more aggressive the cancer.  The Gleason score will tell you how aggressive the cancer cells are and that will help determine your treatment options.

What is a Prostate MRI?

A MRI of the prostate can be used to diagnose, rule out, or follow the treatment of prostate cancer.

High-resolution prostate MRI imaging analyzes the blood flow through the prostate.  This results in higher sensitivity for detection of abnormal sides of blood flow that may represent the sites of cancer within the prostate gland.  As with most MRI exams, prostate MRI is non-invasive and painless.  With a prostate MRI, the need for a number of biopsies of the prostate is reduced.

Although a biopsy of the prostate gland has been considered the gold standard for ruling out prostate cancer, prostate MRI has been growing in use because it is non-invasive and painless and does not have the side effects associated with a biopsy of the prostate.

What you can do if you have questions

If you have questions or want more information about prostate cancer, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can send me an e-mail at [email protected] .  If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter for medical consumers, Your Malpractice Insider, please send me an e-mail with your name and address and I will include you on my mailing list (it's FREE).