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What does it mean if a PSA level increases after radiation?

A:

Quick Answer

A rise in PSA levels after radiation can mean that the prostate cancer has returned, explains the American Cancer Society. In some cases, a person's PSA levels may have an occasional rise, which is only cause for regular monitoring.

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Full Answer

If PSA levels continue to rise, a physician may look to alternative types of treatments. The patient's PSA levels are expected to gradually decrease over time, typically taking up to two years before levels are considered normal, states the American Cancer Society.

Since radiation therapies do not kill all the cells in the prostate gland, PSA levels are never untraceable. Patients who have rapidly rising PSA levels prior to radiation are often recommended radiation therapy in order to combat the aggressive cancerous cells. Those who receive radiation are more likely to survive prostate cancer, according to WebMD.

The PSA level is typically used in order to determine how well the specific treatment is working. Treatments such as hormone therapy or chemotherapy may also display signs of rising PSA levels. However, these rising levels should begin to slow down following treatment, reports the American Cancer Society. In addition to PSA levels, doctors monitor other factors, including the results from biopsies, to determine the type of treatment that works best for the cancer and the patient, says the American Cancer Society.

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