PSA Testing

4Kscore and PHI: The Blood Tests Doctors Trust

GS_4kscore and PHIThe best way to be proactive in your prostate health is through an annual Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. You don’t have to be experiencing prostate issues to take this test. PSA testing should be a part of your standard physical, especially in men who are 55 or older.

But what happens if that test comes back elevated? A high PSA can be caused by several different factors and conditions. Cancer isn’t always the answer. In fact, it usually isn’t. Out of the one million prostate biopsies ordered each year, only twenty percent of them confirm signs of life-threatening cancer. However, it is important to identify why your PSA level is elevated. That’s why doctors are turning to PHI and 4Kscore blood tests to help gain insight on what your elevated PSA level means.

What is PHI?

PHI stands for Prostate Health Index. It is a blood test that combines three different tests to detect whether or not a patient has aggressive or benign prostate cancer. A PHI test is typically given to men over the age of fifty.

This blood test is three times more likely to detect prostate cancer than a PSA screening, which is why doctors prefer to recommend a PHI test before conducting more invasive procedures, such as a prostate biopsy.

The lower your PHI is, the better. If your PHI is low, your doctor will simply recommend an increase in checkups to monitor your prostate health. If it is high, the next step would be to conduct a prostate biopsy.

What is 4K?

The 4Kscore test is specifically created to identify signs of the more aggressive form of cancer knowns as high-grade prostate cancer. Like PHI, it is a simple blood test and does not involve any invasive procedures. The test was studied for over a decade by researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who worked with over 22,000 patients to prove its effectiveness.

Warning Signs for Prostate Issues

There are several warning signs to look for when identifying prostate problems. Those symptoms include:

  • Frequent, painful, or difficult urination
  • Blood or semen in urine
  • Dribbling urine
  • Difficulty having erections
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Chronic pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs

While the direct cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are certain factors that elevate your risks, including age, race/ethnicity, family history, diet, obesity, and smoking.

When Should I See a Urologist?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or if you’re above the age of fifty and haven’t had an annual physical, then you should call to set an appointment with your doctor.

Gulfshore Urology is the leading urology practice in Florida. You can contact our experienced and friendly team at 239-333-3200 or use our contact form.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Jan 29, 2016   Blood Testing, PSA Testing   Comments Off on 4Kscore and PHI: The Blood Tests Doctors Trust   Read More

Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?

Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?

Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?

A good doctor believes in preventative medicine that is proactive—not reactive—to his or her patients’ health. That’s why medical professionals from across the country stood behind PSA Testing when the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) claimed it should be reserved for men who already show symptoms of prostate cancer.

In 2012, USPSTF published a Grade D Recommendation that PSA Screenings should be avoided by healthy men because the psychological harm of a false positive and the possible side effects supposedly outweighed the amount of lives that benefitted from preventative PSA screenings.

USPSTF’s Grade on PSA Testing Received Immediate Backlash

The USPSTF’s D Grade on PSA Testing created an uproar in the medical community. The American Urological Association and individual urologists were first to speak up against the inaccuracy of their claims. One of the leading voices included Dr. William Catalona, MD, who was a pioneer in the research that led to the development of the PSA tests in the first place.

Dr. Catalona pointed out that the decision made by the USPSTF did not include the input of physicians who specialized in urology or oncology. Instead, it was comprised solely of a group of primary care providers whose broad understanding of the medical field did not delve deep enough into specialized areas to make a fair determination.

The USPSTF’s decision was based on the limited data pulled from two large trials that conducted PSA Screenings for prostate cancer. One demonstrated no variation in mortality rate between men who were screened and men who weren’t while the other demonstrated a 29% reduction in mortality rate. That percentage was deemed by the USPSTF to be “too low” to be significant.

Medical Professionals Cite Flaws in USPSTF’s Ruling

Dr. Marc Rendell, MD, of Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska and other nationally recognized medical professionals familiar with the treatment of prostate cancer, cited multiple reasons why USPSTF’s D Grade recommendation was flawed, some of which include:

  • A one-sided approach that failed to factor in procedures and complications that occurred within unscreened patients
  • A lack of consideration of the potential benefits for high-risk populations
  • Factoring their decision based on mortality rates while neglecting the illness associated with living with cancer
  • Making a blanketed recommendation across all age groups, which could potentially increase the number of diagnoses for advanced prostate cancer due to lack of screening
  • Neglecting data beyond the two trials examined that shows significant reductions in mortalities and late-stage diagnoses since PSA screening began

Why Grades Matter

The D Grade poses issues in the fact that it prevents Medicare from covering the service without a copay, which can prevent patients from opting to receive a preventative screening that could catch the early signs of prostate cancer and begin treatment before the cancer escalates.

USPSTF is Now Reevaluating Their Decision

The outcry from a multitude of experts in the field of urology and oncology pushed the USPSTF to re-evaluate their Grade D recommendation on PSA Screenings. The Task Force is going back into the research phase to consider what an overwhelming number of doctors and medical professionals have been saying for many years: that preventative measures taken to detect the early onset of cancer saves lives.

It’s a proven claim. Epidemiologic data neglected in the USPSTF’s original research stated that there’s been a 40% reduction in prostate cancer mortalities and a 75% reduction in diagnosis of late-stage prostate cancer since PSA testing was introduced.

Gulfshore Urology is a southwest Florida based practice that offers PSA Screenings to its patients. For questions regarding PSA Screenings or to schedule an appointment, you can reach their Bonita Springs office at 239-333-3200.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Dec 11, 2015   Prostate Cancer, PSA Testing   Comments Off on Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?   Read More