September 13th, 2010
12:02 AM ET

Study: Men with low initial PSA levels less likely to develop prostate cancer

Men with low PSA levels from a baseline blood test were less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men whose baseline PSA levels were high, according to a new study.

The simple test may be a strong predictor of who will benefit from future screening and treatment for prostate cancer, according to the study published Monday in the journal Cancer.

More than 85,000 men, ages 55 to 74, with no previous prostate cancer history were the subjects of the study. The authors found that in order to save one life, they needed to investigate almost  25,000 men with low PSA levels but only 133 men with high ones. Similarly, they needed to treat 724 men who had low PSA levels to save one life but only 60 men whose levels were higher.

PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is a protein found in prostate cancer tissue. When that tissue breaks down, the protein seeps into the bloodstream. The heavier the presence of PSA in the blood, the more likely prostate cancer will be dangerous and require some type of treatment, said Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer at American Cancer Society and a contributor to CNNHealth.com.

But aren't all cancers bad, even if a man's PSA level is low?

"There are a large number of prostate cancers that don't need to be treated because they're not a health threat to the man who has them," explained Brawley.  That makes guidelines for screenings more difficult to set.

The American Cancer Society encourages men to work with their doctors to learn about the test's benefits and risks before making an informed personal decision around age 50.   Research has not yet proven that the potential benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment, explains the organization.

The American Urology Association recommends baseline screening for men at age 40 with future screenings determined in conjunction with the patient's doctor.

"This can't be done in a vacuum," said Dr. J. Brantley Thrasher, spokesman for the American Urology Association and the William L. Balk Chair of the Department of Urology at the University of Kansas. "We need to let [patients] know this is an imperfect marker, but we're getting data that may help us in the future."

It's difficult to accept the idea that you could have prostate cancer that doesn't need to be treated and could be left alone with no harm, while other men have aggressive and deadly prostate cancers.  Brawley, who chooses not to be screened, thinks this is why most men get PSA tests regularly, despite the many risks associated treatment.

"By choosing to get screened, there is a guaranteed increase in diagnosis... but there is only a potential decrease in death," said Brawley.

Some of the risks of treatment include impotence, incontinence and bowel injury.

Still, Thrasher says the importance of the PSA blood test should not be diminished. He tells his patients to get regular screenings every other year or every three years after their initial test.

"I believe knowledge is power to some extent," said Thrasher. "It's risks versus benefits... and each decision point is a fork in the road where [me and patients] have to have a discussion."

soundoff (709 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    June 19, 2021 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thanks!


    June 20, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Google Marketing Company

    This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 20, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Video Marketing Business


    June 20, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Internet Marketing Firms


    June 20, 2021 at 05:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Local Marketing Business

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the website is very good.


    June 20, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Yolando Spindler

    Hi, check this product that can help to take care of your hair: https://bit.ly/3gJqhQH


    June 20, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Zenobia Chiapetto

    Can I just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who really understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people have to read this and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you're not more popular because you definitely have the gift.


    June 20, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bryon Lehew

    This is the right webpage for everyone who really wants to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that's been written about for decades. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!


    June 20, 2021 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lauren Schuette

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 20, 2021 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Merri Zelinka


    June 20, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. propane refill near me

    Good web site you have got here.. Itís hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    June 21, 2021 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repair

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I donít know the reason why I can't join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 21, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Steve Pflum

    Hello.. . I would be grateful for advice on creative writing copywright issues.. . When submitting poetry, short stories, novels, or features to publishers and literary agents to consider for publication, is it an idea to protect the copywright?. . If so, what's the best way to do this?. . Thank you in advance.. . bgscotty.


    June 21, 2021 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. stores open near me

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 21, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Repair Nearby


    June 21, 2021 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. starbucks near me


    June 21, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. drive in theater near me


    June 21, 2021 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. car parts near me


    June 21, 2021 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. pep boys near me


    June 21, 2021 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. credit union near me


    June 21, 2021 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It's always helpful to read through articles from other writers and practice a little something from their web sites.


    June 21, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 21, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. smoothies near me

    This is a topic that's close to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?


    June 21, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Sprinter Van Side Repair Price

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Well written!


    June 21, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 22, 2021 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Sprinter Van Frame Repair


    June 22, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. guidance group


    June 22, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Ram Luxury Van Repair

    You have made some really good points there. I checked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.


    June 22, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Rv Restoration


    June 22, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dodge Sprinter Service Centers

    I used to be able to find good advice from your blog posts.


    June 22, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 22, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Orange County


    June 22, 2021 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair


    June 22, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    You are so interesting! I don't believe I've truly read a single thing like that before. So wonderful to find another person with some genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!


    June 22, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Service And Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 22, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Passenger Van Repair Shop Near Me

    There's definately a lot to find out about this topic. I like all the points you've made.


    June 22, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Near Me


    June 22, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Coachmen Van Repair

    I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    June 22, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Center Near Me

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own site now 😉


    June 22, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Content Marketing Experts

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 22, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Content Marketing Consultant

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Kudos!


    June 22, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Best RV Repair Near Me

    Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    June 22, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Elevate Neuro Review

    I think other website owners should take this internet
    site as an model, very clean and excellent user pleasant style and design.

    Review my web page :: Elevate Neuro Review

    June 22, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. charlie kirk podcast

    I absolutely love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my very own website and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thank you!


    June 22, 2021 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Mobile Repair Service Near Me

    I seriously love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my own personal site and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Thanks!


    June 22, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. SEO Marketing Services

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.


    June 23, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repair Centers Near Me


    June 23, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.