PSA on PSA


Public Service Announcement on Prostate-Specific Antigen

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“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn

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After enduring a heart transplant, there is a LOT of maintenance that we patients have to complete on a regular basis. We have LOTS of blood tests, X-rays, cardiac biopsies, EKG’s, echocardiogram for starters. And since the immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) drugs we are on will also increase our chances of having cancer, we also must have regular skin cancer screenings and colonoscopies.

Of course the ladies go off and have their breasts “smashed” on a regular basis and men endure trips to the urologist for a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and an annual “manual” check for size and irregularities of the prostate.

Personally, I have had “high” PSA since before my transplant. A “4” is the upper limit and if you get to that point or higher there’s another blood test, to check for “Free PSA”. After that, most urologists would insist on doing a “needle biopsy” of the prostate and have the 10 to 12 specimens checked for the big “C” and/or irregular, precancerous cells.

I’ve endure 3 sets of biopsies over the years. Not fun at all and the side effects are …. well if you need to know, email me and I’ll tell you off this blog …… enough said.

All of my biopsies have been negative, which leads my urologist to medically declare me an “enigma”.

Regardless, I continue to have the blood tests and continue to see my urologist to make sure I remain stable. (Stable is boring …. I like being boring)

However, there have been a number of advancements in the past couple of years at Cleveland Clinic and some other facilities. (Health insurance can be an issue in getting these advanced tests covered at this point in time)

There is a newer test, called the PCA3, which is a high-tech blood test that is an improved version of the PSA test. It checks for some type of gene mutation in the blood which could, detect prostate cancer even earlier. You can read about it here ~ http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2012/03/double-check-for-prostate-cancer/

If a man has prostate cancer, there are a lot of different treatments. Many have to do with age, how advanced the cancer might be, etc. Surgery and radiation are the leading treatments. Advances there are, in some facilities, robotic surgery which leads to faster recovery, less pain, etc.

There are also some new drugs to treat advanced cancer of the prostate – you can read about those here – http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2012/11/new-drugs-for-prostate-cancer-no-4-innovation-for-2013-video/

Bottom-line ….. Men, all men …. get your PSA checked on a regular basis and follow-up as required. Ladies, make sure your man HAS his PSA checked on a regular basis.

“Dear Cancer, I hope one day you are just a zodiac sign.” ~ Unknown

The prostate is described as a “walnut” is size and shape ……. here’s a graphic representation (sorry, had to have a LITTLE fun) –

 

About DAP

I am a heart transplant recipient and these are my stories and thoughts. My desire is to assist others pre or post heart transplant in anyway possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question.
This entry was posted in General, Heart Transplant and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to PSA on PSA

  1. rogerpassman says:

    I too had an unusually high PSA baseline (7.3) and had three needle biopsies over the course of a 12 month period, all negative. I also had a TURP to relieve symptoms of BPH around 4 years ago. Recently when my PSA jumped to 23 a fourth needle biopsy was positive. While the procedure is invasive, it is likely that the combination of PSA and biopsy will likely mean that prostate cancer will not kill me in the near future. While I am not a big fan of needle biopsy for no reason, I am certainly glad I agreed to the last one.

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