Thursday, June 16, 2011

RM30 Reassurance

I have good reason to be happy today. Beside crossing over the 1,000 post mark I am comforted by the latest retest of my PSA. On June 6 I was told by the medical officer in charge at the Surgical Out Patient Department (SOPD) of the government hospital I went for my BPH treatment that based on the latest PSA result I am a candidate for prostate cancer. The conclusion was based on 2 results: 3.1ng/ml in December 2010 and 4.3ng/ml on May 30 this year. Any result below 4.0ng/ml is deemed normal and any sudden rise in PSA is deemed a flag to carry out further tests. The sharp increase of 1.2ng/ml within a 6 months period to above the trigger maximum of 4.0 was the basis of concluding I may have prostate cancer, even if the percentage is low at 10-20%. If this is correct then I would need to take precautions to control it.

To be honest I was worried. Who wouldn't when told you may be 'grounded' by the big C? My friends advised me: get another opinion or get another test done. I chose the latter and on June 13 went to an independent pathological laboratory to have my blood sample drawn and the PSA test done. Today I was told my PSA was only 1.8ng/ml. While I have good reason to rejoice I'm bugged with the questions:

Why did the earlier results showed I had high PSA? Could both be wrong?
Or could the latest result be wrong?
What factors can manipulate the PSA result from its 'true' value? Sex life? Diet? Physical activities? I need to know and research.

My next PSA test is scheduled in March 2012 by the government lab. I am planning to have a parallel test done by the same independent lab about the same time to verify the accuracy. For now I know that no result is absolute and even a 'good' result does not necessarily mean all is well. What is important is to maintain vigilance and carry out regular health checks to detect early signs of cancer growth for better chance of survival and cure.

I spent RM30 (USD10) for this test and felt that it was a small sum to give me peace of mind, at least for the next 9 months.


Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,just dont think about it so much. Accept the fact of the latest results and now the main thing is to have proper diet and exercise to maintain the latest findings.Thats easy to check on the net nowadays.Congrats on your achievement in making the 1000,its a journey to be proud and to continue with renewed strength.I am happy for you although we have not met but i think you are a self made man and GOD willing we will meet soon and shake hands as friends.God Bless and HAPPY FATHERS DAY and yes Mrs Brown you got a lovely daughter forever in Peter's memories.FR AL MAL.

Peter Yew said...

Dear AL, thank you for your kind thoughts and encouragement. I'd love to meet up with you one day and shake your hands too. Have a great Father's Day this weekend with your family.

I am much relieved by the result although it is not 100% conclusive I am out of the wood. Below is what I found out from an Internet article.

What’s a Normal PSA Level?

Unfortunately for men, ‘normal’ seems to be a bit of a moving target. Because of various factors such as age and medications, PSA levels tend to fluctuate. One abnormal PSA test can be quite meaningless.

For instance, men with PSA numbers below 1 may still have progressive cancers. The National Cancer Society even reports that 1 out of 4 men with prostate cancer have relatively low numbers.

Alternately, men with PSA levels in the hundreds may have no sign of cancer.

Generally, test results are best used as indicators of changes in PSA levels over time. If the PSA number is going up, it is usually not a good sign. Certainly if it rises quickly -- within a year -- a test is always recommended.

That said, most doctors agree that a PSA level of 4.0 or below is considered to be safe and normal. Any consistent rating from 4.0 up to 10.0 is labeled suspicious and may require additional tests. Readings above 10.0 are often considered to be dangerous and may indicate that the cancer is spreading.

End of Quote.

I guess we leave our destiny in the hand of God and live the best we can.


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