What is a PSA Test?
The PSA test stands for prostate specific antigen. An antigen is an antibody designed to protect against disease. And because we can test for a prostate specific antigen, the volume of that antigen can indicate the seriousness of any disease that is attacking the prostate.
By itself, a PSA reading does not mean very much. The PSA is only a very rough indicator. It certainly does not predict prostate cancer, but it may give you an early indication. However, the PSA is very unreliable and essentially flawed as a test for prostate cancer because a raised PSA can mean many different things.
The PSA score, however, is the very best indication of the general health of your prostate. It may be an enlarged prostate or an inflamed one or prostatitis that causes your PSA reading to rise. But it can also be prostate cancer or a mix of any of them.
The bottom line is that the PSA test is a good inexpensive test to have done once you are in your 40s at least once a year. But don’t go overboard and rush to visit your urologist even if your PSA score rises consistently. It doesn’t mean you have prostate cancer, but it does mean you should investigate further. And there are better, safer and less expensive ways to investigate whether or not you do have life-threatening prostate cancer than having a biopsy, which is what your urologist will invariably recommend.
High PSA, Is It Dangerous?
It used to be the case that when doctors detected a high PSA they would immediately recommend a prostate biopsy. Nowadays, slightly fewer doctors recommend that if it is just based on a PSA reading. Current conventional medical thinking holds that the only way to detect prostate cancer for certain is to have a prostate biopsy.
As soon as they detect a high PSA, some doctors recommend an immediate prostate biopsy even though 75% of prostate biopsies produce a negative result. That means that the expense of having a prostate biopsy proves to be completely unnecessary in three cases out of four.
That is why some more modern and pioneering doctors now say that checking PSA levels is not necessary. They agree that it is not the PSA level that causes the problem. It is the decision to have an invasive prostate biopsy procedure that causes the problem. The PSA level is actually a very helpful piece of information as long as it does not lead to false and unjustified conclusions. I guess doctors also know those statistics.
Truth About Prostate Biopsy
So why do doctors recommend a prostate biopsy so readily as soon as they know the PSA level is raised? Sometimes, a biopsy is just good additional business for them. But the most frequent reason is that they are protecting themselves against any malpractice suit. Recommending a prostate biopsy is defensive medicine.
In the event that a doctor gets a malpractice suit slapped on him for failing to detect prostate cancer, if he has recommended a prostate biopsy, that is the perfect defence. It doesn’t matter whether his patient accepts the recommendation or not. As long as he has recommended a prostate biopsy, he cannot be faulted by any court.
In any event, I do not recommend prostate biopsy in almost all cases. Most doctors maintain that a prostate biopsy is harmless. My experience over the 15 years I have been dealing with men with rising PSA levels is far more extensive than that of any doctor.
Prostate Biopsy Side Effects
Over the years, I have literally communicated with hundreds of thousands of men who have had a rising PSA level. Some of those men had chosen to have a prostate biopsy even before they met me. So I have learned about their experience and I know that a prostate biopsy can be extremely painful and ultimately damaging. I do not only know this from the scientific studies that I have read on the subject. I know from direct anecdotal evidence from many thousands of men.
Prostate biopsy, at the very least, will cause a painful infection and to forestall that, doctors will pump you up with antibiotics. Antibiotics are also not recommended unless you are experiencing a life-threatening situation because antibiotics will reduce the efficacy of your immune system. In any event, antibiotics will not necessarily prevent an infection or pain. In fact, in a minority of cases, notwithstanding antibiotics, a prostate biopsy can even cause blood poisoning which can be life-threatening.
Additionally, I have heard from (admittedly only a minority of men) who have had prostate biopsy that they have experienced more serious problems related to their prostate, including erectile dysfunction after having had a prostate biopsy.
But the most serious potential problem with a prostate biopsy is that it is invasive. That means that they are poking a needle multiple times through your rectum into your prostate. And that can produce something called needle tracking.
When a needle invades your prostate and that needle encounters any cancer cells, then the needle itself becomes contaminated with cancer cells. The same needle will then be reintroduced into another point within the prostate, which may be completely healthy. But because the needle is now contaminated, it can produce a seed of cancer which will grow to become detectable as a tumour after about 18 months.
The bottom line is that your PSA level may have alerted you to the fact that you may have prostate cancer. But the strongest likelihood is that your prostate cancer will be a relatively benign form of prostate cancer. In fact, only one case in seven cases of prostate cancer has the potential to become life-threatening. But a needle biopsy can actually turn your benign prostate cancer into one that is potentially life-threatening.
How to Lower Your Rising PSA
So, if biopsy is undesirable, what should you be doing in the event that you have a consistently rising PSA level?
You should first be aware that if you are not showing any symptoms of urinary problems that it is more likely that your rising PSA level is actually caused by prostate cancer.
However, if you are getting up at night or are experiencing any pain in your groin, or an unusual urgency to go to the toilet, or difficulty consistently peeing, the odds are that you are more likely to have a more general disease of the prostate than prostate cancer.
So how can you get a diagnosis or at least an indication without having a prostate biopsy? There are basically two different approaches. A simple and inexpensive way to give you are an early indication is to take a three-month course of Ben’s Total Health for the Prostate supplement. You can read more about that if you click here.
If the cause of your PSA level rising is as a result of enlargement, inflammation or infection of your prostate then the three-month course of Total Health for the Prostate, in conjunction with the changes of diet and exercise, which I recommend in my guide ‘All about the Prostate‘ is virtually certain to lower the level of your PSA. You can read more about my guide when you click here.
If my three-month course of Total Health for the Prostate together with my protocol does not reduce your PSA level, the likelihood of you having some prostate cancer becomes stronger.
If your PSA level is reduced, that does not mean you certainly do not have any prostate cancer. But it probably means that if you do have any prostate cancer, it will be relatively benign.
And in both cases, you need to continue to monitor your PSA and ideally continue to take some of my supplements in conjunction with my protocol to improve the health of your prostate.
An alternative way to get a faster answer about what your raised PSA level means without enduring any invasive procedure is to visit our clinic in Arizona to have a series of specialized scans and blood tests for our advanced prostate cancer risk assessment. APCRA starts at a cost of $2750 and that includes a consultation with a professor of urology. If that is an option you wish to pursue, please email me by clicking here.
Please feel free to ask me any question about your prostate condition and your concerns. This is a free service and there is no obligation. We are here to help. I and my team of healthcare professionals will be only too happy to assist you. You can ask me a question right away by clicking here.