Will Your Prostate Cancer Return?
by Robert Warren Hess
The number one question for every prostate cancer survivor who undergoes successful treatment is “will my prostate cancer return?”
As of this writing, I am a 10-year prostate cancer survivor and I ask myself that question almost every day. And it’s very much on my mind when it’s time for my semi-annual PSA (prostate specific antigen) test.
What are the Recurrence Statistics?
It seems like every case of prostate cancer is slightly different and there is no chart or algorithm that will tell us if we will be one of the unlucky ones and exactly when our prostate cancer will reappear.
Statistically, the range of recurrence is anywhere from 15 – 40%, depending on how early your prostate cancer was detected and treated and the aggressiveness of your particular type prostate cancer (there are 25 different variations of prostate cancer).
How Will I Know if My Prostate Cancer has Returned?
Your health care provider will track your annual or semi-annual PSA test to see if the number is rising. Most health care providers use a PSA value of 0.2 ng/ml as a marker that prostate cancer has returned.
Should You Personally Track Your PSA Values?
I think all men should begin prostate cancer PSA testing at age 35 and then personally track those annual values, just like we follow the scores and statistics of our favorite sports teams and athletes. It’s easy to do. We just need to think about it. And do it!
The image to the right is my personal prostate cancer history. You can see the rising PSA on the left side of the chart. My prostate cancer was diagnosed in December 2002 and I underwent surgery in May of 2003. You can see that my PSA dropped to undetectable following my treatment.
My PSA remained undetectable – less than 0.01 – until 2005, when the values rose very slightly to the 0.02 – 0.06 range, where they have remained.
I’ll talk about why I may be having those elevated PSA values in a future post.
What’s Your Next Step?
Create your free prostate cancer early detection account at http://ProstateTracker.org. ProstateTracker works both before and after prostate cancer diagnosis. ProstateTracker is your personal, free, and anonymous “canary in the coal mine” that will show you if you have a rising PSA trend, which equates to a rising risk of having prostate cancer.
ProstateTracker will send you an email reminder when your next PSA test is due.
Prostate cancer kills 30,000 men every year. Early detection is priceless. Activate your free, anonymous account right now by clicking the following ProstateTracker link – http://ProstateTracker.org – or by clicking the image below.