Prostate Mathematics

I’m not sure what to make of the science behind the PSA test. Don’t get me wrong, I do get my regular blood test, but my recent bout with a Prostate Biopsy has at least educated me. No matter how old I am, as long as I have a Prostate there is a finite probability that I will have Prostate Cancer. That is true for any male, at any age. The only way to make that probability zero is to have no Prostate. No matter what the PSA score, there is always a finite probability of cancer. It seems to me that setting the trigger level at 4000 on the PSA is somewhat arbitrary. What is the difference between 4000 and 3500 or 4500? Not much on the probability scale. What concerned me more was how fast my number was changing. I had gone from having the same PSA number each year to 50% increase in 6 months. Followed by another 30% in the following 6 months. This so called PSA velocity is the subject of recent research suggesting it is very important. It still comes down to only a mathematical probability formula, no certainty here. But the rate of change of that probability seems to be important. Makes sense to me. It also suggests that you have less time to get control with higher PSA velocity. This also says that early detection is crucial. . Another funny thought I had was this: if our PSA score increases with age, if we live long enough, will all men get Prostate Cancer? To put it in perspective, taking age into account, I had a 32% probability of Prostate cancer, which also meant I had a 68% probability of not having it. That is the way I choose to look at it. Since it is all a game of possibilities and probability, what is one to do? The only thing I could do at this point is to prove I didn’t have cancer. That takes a biopsy, so that is what I did. The odds were with me so I was not surprised when the results came back negative for cancer. I have, however, decided to monitor my PSA every 6 months rather than annually. I intend to keep the odds in my favor. The reason for my sudden PSA change is not understood and, until it settles down, vigilance is necessary. Remember this; you are in charge of your health, nobody else. To learn more go to the National Cancer Institute.