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PSA's and Prostate Cancer
  • B MayfieldB Mayfield
    Posts: 2,077
    [QUOTE=La petite mort;86997]An interesting perspective from the man who discovered PSA: Op-Ed Contributor - P.S.A. prostate screening is inaccurate and a waste of money. - NYTimes.com


    A very compelling article and a worthwhile read for all men. There are other tests that are on the horizon that may more accurately predict ones risk for developing prostate cancer and help in determining the more aggressive form of the disease. Until then, every man must make his own informed decision about taking the P.S.A. test.

    BF Mayfield
  • rumelrumel
    Posts: 2,254
    La petite mort,

    Thanks for bringing this topic around again. I have some familiarity with the PSA screening process. I am aware of the large number of false positive results these tests point to, however, in my case the elevated test number did indicate that further investigation was warranted. Two later PSA blood tests confirmed the elevated number. A subsequent biopsy did detect the presence of prostate cancer at an early stage.

    After investigating the treatment options available to me through my HMO, I chose to go the external beam radiation route as it was the least invasive procedure with projected success rates comparable to surgery but with fewer potential deleterious side effects. Currently the PSA testing is the most widely used screening tool. While not nearly as accurate as we all would like, it is, nonetheless, better than nothing at all, especially for those men who are categorized as "at risk" for developing the disease. I am one of those "at risk" men as there is a history of prostate cancer in my family.

    I agree the article you cited is a worthwhile read and as 'BF Mayfield' pointed out there are newer tests being developed which promise to be much more effective in detecting these types of cancer. The current test can be influenced by a number of factors, as was pointed out in the article, as such one needs to be wary of the results and not put too much emphasis on that one test. However, until newer, better tests are made available, IMHO, I think the test has some merit as it detected my cancer before I had any symptoms associated with a more advanced stage of the disease. I was able to obtain treatment at an early stage when prognosis for controlling the disease is at its best.

    I encourage men over the age of 50, if you are in an "at risk" category, to have the test done on a yearly basis to first establish some baseline numbers. While one can expect the PSA number to increase as we grow older it is the rate of change which seems to signal when more monitoring is warranted.
  • Rumel,

    I am glad to hear that PSA tests successfully diagnosed your prostate cancer, and I value your first-hand perspective. The author of this article agrees with you that "at risk" men with a family history of prostate cancer should get PSA screening. What he opposes is the universal use of PSA tests on all men to diagnose prostate cancer, both because of false positives AND because of false negatives (especially when combined with over-confidence in the accuracy of PSA tests). I have no personal experience with prostate cancer or PSA's and I do not intend to discourage anyone from getting a cancer screening. I just found this to be a succinct, interesting article from an impeccable expert source.
  • Badger
    Posts: 648
    I just got back from my annual "finger up the ..." and the Dr was quite pleased:the prostate was smooth and small, last year's PSA was 0.16 (excellent for a 49 yr old) and BP was 130/80. I've been on Proscar and GNC Saw Palmetto Formula for the last few years, and apparently, it does seem to work.

    My Aneros use is somewhat sporatic as of the greater part of the last year, due to unproductive sensations.

    Excuse me while I try something different with my Progasm. G'nite!!
  • slimjm
    Posts: 497
    Badger, congratulations on the excellent PSA for your age. I'm a little on the other side of 50 from you and on Avodart my values stay in that range too. If not too personal, how did you start Proscar? I started it in my early 40's for fun to see if I could keep more hair but shortly afterward my dad developed prostate cancer and his urologist got to talking with me about it and when he discovered I was doing this encouraged me to keep it up. Thankfully, we've been blessed to have my dad disease free now 10+ years but I continued the Proscar and then later, Avodart. Doesn't bother me any way I can tell though you do have less volume and force of ejaculate taking it and this may be a reason I make so little precum with the Aneros which I started about 8 months ago for episodic prostate congestion discomfort due to my wife and me getting a little less frequent with sex. I've worked really consistently with my massage sessions though and finally started getting some feel-good stuff going on. Hope your sensations get better soon. slimjm
  • Badger
    Posts: 648
    I had been on other treatments, and they were either unsuccessful or too expensive. I had tried using Flomax, but in order for it to work at all, I had to take 2 pills a day of the biggest pill, which throws the price well over $150 per month, and that's just too hard on the wallet. I was able to control my BPH for over 10 years with various formulations of Saw Palmetto, until it wasn't helping by itself anymore. I've been on Proscar (finasteride) for about 3 years, and with the Saw Palmetto, it's been working fairly well. My Urologist prescribed it because of my mother dying of cancer in '98, and I've had BPH since I was about 23 (beating my butt on a tractor seat, drinking little to no water while working), I suspect because of the cancer prevention characteristics, and the better flow and retaining my hair are beneficial too (my mom's dad was bald, her brothers are/were bald, and the women in her family have thin hair, too). So it was pretty much a no-brainer, even though I have retained an amazing amount of hair for my age and family heritage before Proscar.

    My sessions were better last spring, when I had some major breakthroughs, with P-waves and hands-free wet-Os with regularity, but when the kids got out of school for the summer, and the stress of our oldest's graduation and open house, plus planting troubles, equated into less sex and less sessions, and got my bowels out of whack somehow, and which still haven't recovered. I fell asleep with the Progasm in, and had several fairly decent P-waves/convulsions before I gave up because I could feel Nature interfering with the Progasm and competing for the same space.
  • TANTROS4
    Posts: 2
    My medical adviser isn't someone I'd like to broach this to: I'd be grateful for feedback/advice from some of our 'maturer' members. I've had a low level prostate cancer diagnosis: 'palpable' but not giving serious concern. No symptoms. 'Watchful waiting' is the message, with a checkup every six months; my psa is 4.69. Par for the course, I guess, at 75.

    I'd like to know if this would be a reason to desist from using my aneros; or, on the contrary, whether it could continue to contribute to my wellbeing? I used to have the entire stable, but now I only use the progasm, and that only infrequently - say, once a fortnight.

    A boring subject for most members; but there might be one or two who've 'been there'...

    TANTROS4
  • Badger
    Posts: 648
    A thought just occurred to me: I was wondering if the PSA is an indicator for cancers other than prostate cancer? Does anyone know about this?
  • rookrook
    Posts: 1,604
    Hi Badger,

    I'll 'me-too' on those numbers. Great !!!

    No, it's only produced in the prostate due to, inflamation, recent prostate activity, and Pca. Hence the name "Prostate Specific Antigen."

    Further read: -- Prostate-specific antigen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia --. Interesting read -- I knew there was a 'liquification agent' in semen but wasn't aware that it's PSA. ...rook
  • rookrook
    Posts: 1,604
    [QUOTE=TANTROS4;87463]My medical adviser isn't someone I'd like to broach this to: I'd be grateful for feedback/advice from some of our 'maturer' members. I've had a low level prostate cancer diagnosis: 'palpable' but not giving serious concern. No symptoms. 'Watchful waiting' is the message, with a checkup every six months; my psa is 4.69. Par for the course, I guess, at 75.

    I'd like to know if this would be a reason to desist from using my aneros; or, on the contrary, whether it could continue to contribute to my wellbeing? I used to have the entire stable, but now I only use the progasm, and that only infrequently - say, once a fortnight.

    A boring subject for most members; but there might be one or two who've 'been there'...

    TANTROS4
    Not at all boring to me. Have had fast and slow PCa throughout the males in my line (including nephews much younger than I) Two-thirds of our gents die of cancer that started in their prostates. Our mean age at death is 78 and that's only a few years away. So far I've dodged the bullet and my PSAs, while rising about 25% per year are still under 2.0. Should my PSA spike, I'm ready to cover the cost of repeat tests and the pain of biopsy. Already, I'm biased to lean toward 'seeds.'

    So, I've been priming my Uro for the "ultimate question." Last year I told him I was an Aneros user and he noted it in my record. I'll repeat that this year and get his opinion on how my prostate 'feels' and how the Aneros may have affected it.

    I'm a tough cookie when it comes to giving up something I enjoy... did give up nicotine about 28 years ago. So, I need a strong 'suggestion' from my doc to knock off using my Aneros.

    Here would be my ultimate question, "Doctor, this tool is called the Progasm and this one is called the Eupho. Which one would you prefer that I use?" Put another way, "...which one would you recommend that I avoid."

    Suggestion: find a doc you will talk to. .... My 2¢Wworth.
  • slimjm
    Posts: 497
    TANTROS4, I can't think of a medical reason why stopping Aneros prostate massage would be necessary for you. The Aneros massage is much more gentle than even a conventional digital rectal prostate examination and I've never known a urologist who thought he was spreading cancer or worsening an infection by doing a prostate exam. I also end to think that your PSA is a reflection of the size of your gland and not necessarily cancer. What's your urologist's thoughts on using Avodart to decrease your gland size (and thus PSA)? Best wishes. slimjm.
  • rumelrumel
    Posts: 2,254
    TANTROS4,

    As a cancer survivor I have been there. I am a dozen years your junior and experienced my PSA number rise from less than 4 to over 8 in less than a year's time. Subsequent tests and biopsy revealed a T1c cancer with a Gleason score of 6. I did a lot of reading about prostate cancer treatments and related health issues (that's how I found this site) before I had been diagnosed. After the diagnosis I did continue to use my massagers on a limited basis despite reading recommendations that men with prostate cancer avoid such action for fear of metastisizing the cancer to other organs.

    I reasoned the gentle nature of the Aneros hands free massage was not likely to break-up and spread the early stage cancer. I also knew that I would subsequently be undergoing some form of treatment to deal with the condition. I knew this was a calculated risk. Only you can determine a risk / reward formula upon which to make a decision about using or not using your Aneros massager. I know it is a heart wrenching choice to make, I would support you choice either way, because it is and should be YOUR CHOICE how you want to live your life.
  • TANTROS4
    Posts: 2
    Thanks guys! Hugely helpful and supportive. I guess my case chimes most closely with that of Rumel: similarly a Gleason score of 6 and a T2 rating. No change to speak of in the last 6 months. Like others, I can't imagine there's much harm in the gentle massage that aneros applies, providing maybe you don't 'ride' it or contract too vigorously. I'm thinking of going back to the smaller models: less invasive, but maybe more concentrated? 'Is there a doctor in the house?' (I'm afraid it's a topic that would make my GP blench and purse his lips...) In the mean time, my homeopath has prescribed a remedy based on pomegranate/thuja/magnesium-p-am. I'm not sure that Avodart is available over here.

    Best of luck to all - TANTROS4