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How is PSA recurrence diagnosed after brachytherapy?

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Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels about 2.5 units higher than the lowest measure after brachytherapy indicates a recurrence of prostate cancer. However, a measure of PSA does not definitively indicate the presence of prostate cancer, says the NYU Langone Medical Center.

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Doctors recommend brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy that involves the insertion of radioactive seeds into the prostate gland, depending on the stage of prostate cancer and the patients’ concern regarding the risks. Brachytherapy may be better than external beam radiotherapy when it comes to maintaining erectile function, the NYU Langone Medical Center claims. Brachytherapy minimizes damage to the prostate’s surrounding tissues in men who have low-risk or intermediate-risk cancer.

Measuring PSA levels, which is a test that indicates the first onset of prostate cancer, is the method doctors use to see if the cancer recurs after brachytherapy. Specialists measure the lowest level of PSA after radiation treatment and later measure the PSA level again. Doctors may need to wait two years to measure the lowest level of PSA. PSA levels remain higher when radiation still affects them.

A measurement of 2.5 ng/dl above the lowest level indicates a possible recurrence of prostate cancer, the NYU Langone Medical Center notes. A biochemical recurrence after radiation therapy may be a poor prognosis for the patient.

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