PSA for monitoring how well hormone therapy works
My father is having hormone therapy for prostate cancer and his PSA level has gone from 800 plus down to around 55 to 70. But his doctor now refuses to tell me what it is. Why?
We don't know why your father's doctor won't tell you the PSA (prostate specific antigen) level. You can ask again and the doctor may tell you, but you might need your father's permission first.
A possible reason for not wanting to discuss the PSA level could be that your father’s doctor thinks you are too worried about it. They may think that you will worry less if you don't know what the level is, but often this information can help you to stop worrying.
PSA is a protein made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells. It is found in the blood in very small amounts in all men (unless they have had their prostate completely removed). In prostate cancer, the blood level goes up. A level of 800 would normally mean that the prostate cancer had spread to another part of the body, such as the bones.
PSA can be used as a way of monitoring treatment. As the level of PSA fell once your father started hormone therapy, this means that the treatment has helped to shrink the cancer and control it. If the level then starts to rise, it can mean that the cancer has started to grow and the hormone therapy is no longer keeping it under control. Then your father may need to stop the hormone therapy. Stopping the treatment can shrink the cancer for a time. Or your father may need another type of treatment, such as chemotherapy. His doctors would discuss all the possible options with him.
You can find a lot of helpful information in our prostate cancer treatment section.
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team
Mrs Renée Dangoor
CancerHelp UK is generously supported by Dr N E Dangoor CBE to honour the life of Mrs Renée Dangoor
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