Prostate Cancer Testing: PSA vs. PCA3

Although it’s not prostate cancer month, I decided to write about prostate health, because it has been a popular topic of discussion at my last few seminars. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing is most commonly used to determine the health of the prostate gland and can be tested simply through a blood test. For a long time now, high PSA levels have shown to be correlated with prostate cancer. However, PSA levels can also be equally elevated in other non-cancerous conditions such as: Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BPH), urinary tract infections and prostate infections (acute and chronic prostatitis). So, if PSA levels can be elevated in a variety of conditions, how would you know if your high PSA levels are due to cancer or another prostate condition? The answer is – you don’t know.

But, there is another laboratory test you could do! The Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 (PCA3) test has been shown to be extremely effective in helping patients/doctors come to a biopsy decision, investigate further for an initial cancer diagnosis and even monitor the progression of cancer numerically while undergoing active treatments. The PCA3 test is not a blood test. A digital rectal examination (DRE) is performed by the physician – the purpose being to massage the prostate gland and mobilize PCA3 from the prostate into the urine. Immediately following the DRE, first-urine is collected. This first-urine is rich in PCA3 and is sent to the laboratory for testing.

The PCA3 test measures PSA as well and the ratio between PCA3 and PSA. There is a cut off numerical marker that determines a higher likelihood of cancer diagnosis. The PCA3 is a highly specific test for prostate cancer and is specific to prostate cancer alone. No other prostate condition would yield elevated PCA3 levels, other than prostate cancer!

In my clinical experience, upon PCA3 testing, all patients with elevated PCA3 levels, who then used this information to go ahead with biopsy, were definitively diagnosed with prostate cancer. The PCA3 test is a really helpful test to aid patients in making a decision of whether or not they wish to undergo a biopsy or not. This test is also great for patients who have been asked to take the “wait and watch” approach, since high PSA levels do not necessarily mean cancer. Doing this test periodically during the “wait and watch” period can help determine whether or not a biopsy is warranted or if the cancer burden on the body is increasing.

Your Naturopathic Doctor is able to explain the details of this test. If you have any questions or are interested in booking an appointment, feel free to book online today or email for more information. I also offer complimentary 15-minute consults if you would like to meet with me prior to booking an initial visit. Stay up to date with my Naturmend blog posts for more information on cutting edge treatments and research!

Dr.Nadia Mawji, ND

Dr. Nadia Mawji values and seeks to find new and emerging therapies and treatments through medical clinical research that can benefit her patients in the best possible way. Her passion lies with helping individuals in prevention, treatment and management of cancer and other chronic immune disease. Her experience involves utilizing the most current and effective oral therapies, combined with targeted intravenous therapies, most current laboratory tests, along with dietary modifications to best target various types of cancer.



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