Rising PSA 2years after radical prostatectomy

Posted by olanordman @olanordman, Feb 22 1:10pm

I am 60 years and I had radical prostatectomy on 23rd Nov 2018. I was told out of the 15 lymph nodes taken only one was affected less than a millimetre. It was Gleason score 7B with PSA around 13 at time of surgery but 11 at time of diagnosis in June 2018.
The PSA been fluctuating between 0.09 and 0.18 since surgery on 23rd November 2018
I have no incontinence as well as Erectile dysfunction. I take hypertension medication – Norvask Amlodipine 5mg daily and Cetirizine 5mg for allergy. Below are some of the test results. I have many of these test results – a few below
Jan 2019: 0.11
April 2019: 0.11
June 2019: 0.09
August 2019: 0.12
December 2019: 0.12
April 2020: 0.12
August 2020: 0.11
October 2020: 0.17
December 2020: 0.15
February 2021: 0.18
I am worried the cancer may be returning or might have spread. I met my doctor today and expressed my concerns. He has agreed to refer me to the hospital where I had the surgery. Any suggestions based on this brief history?

@olanordman Where are you, are you in the US? Getting a second opinion is always a good idea.


I am in Norway. Thanks


Sometimes the instrument used to measure the PSA may cause some fluctuation between two different devices. I am not sure if the devices require calibration on a regular basis. However, not a reason to let your guard down.


@olanordman, you may also wish to read these related discussions:
– Post prostatectomy: What do rising PSA levels mean? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-prostatectomy/
– High PSA three years post op https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/high-psa-three-years-post-op/
– PSA numbers: Questions about new treatments https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/psa-numbers/
– Follow up after proton beam treatment: GREAT PSA NUMBER https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/great-psa-number/

You ask a good question. What can rising PSA levels means years after having had a prostatectomy?
There are several reasons why one's PSA level may rise after being stable for a time. This article explains it well:
– PSA levels after prostatectomy https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323899.php

Here's an excerpt from the article:
"Seeing a rise in PSA level does not always mean that prostate cancer is returning or spreading. The test is very sensitive and can pick up small changes in PSA levels. Doctors will usually want to know how quickly levels of PSA in the blood are rising. To find this out, a person will need to have regular PSA tests. If levels of PSA remain stable or rise very slowly, treatment may not be necessary.

In some cases, high PSA levels in the blood are not due to cancer cells. Some factors that can affect PSA levels include:
– older age
– ethnicity
– medication
A doctor will take these factors and the person's medical history into account when looking at test results. This can help them decide if PSA levels are high enough to cause concern."

The PSA test alone is not enough to determine cause or next steps. Your oncology team will consult with you and likely order other tests. Did you have other treatments after surgery?

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