I played phone tag with my urologist’s office for a while, after I discovered the PCA3 test though a Google search. I had already verified that a number of labs did this newer test in the USA. It shocked me a little bit that my urologist hadn’t even mentioned it when I asked about alternative testing before a biopsy. The sales rep at one of the labs who I contacted for a referral (in case my urologist wouldn’t do it) said they even worked with my health clinic and my urologist in the past for this test. That shocked me a bit more. The urologist’s office is busy, though, maybe they just overlooked it or felt it wasn’t useful. Fair enough, but I decided it was still worth a call to them. It’s impossible to get a phone call to the doctor. You can leave a message for a nurse, that is usually returned the next day. The nurses seemed a little resistant to letting me have this urine test. They made sure I realized that I must still have a biopsy. I had already scheduled the biopsy, so I didn’t see any reason not to have more information.
One nurse asked why I would go through with it. I was thinking, what’s to go through? I’ve already had 5 urine tests in the last year or so. It’s not like a gun and an ultrasound is being put up my rear end while a needle stabs my prostate a dozen times or more through a less than sanitary region of my digestive sytem. Right? I insisted and they obliged me with an appointment to have the test, right before Christmas. It’s not quite a simple urine test. They have to do a glorified DRE beforehand, such that some prostate secretions make it into the urine stream. Again, I’d already had a couple DREs in the last month or so. This one was longer, what might be called a 1-minute prostate massage. A bit uncomfortable, but still no where near as invasive as a biopsy and essentially no risks or side effects, either. It was also far less uncomfortable than the cystoscopy I had previously.
With the holidays, I had to wait for the results. In fact, I got a call earlier in this week from Bostwick Labs telling me that they had my sample, but needed some additional insurance information to process it. I was told my urologist should have the results by yesterday. I called yesterday to check and got a call back from the nurse, early yesterday evening…
…my PCA3 score is “5.6”. This is considered a negative (good) result. Like a PSA test or biopsy, it is not a “Yes” or “No” answer. My level is relatively low, meaning that it indicates a low risk of my having cancer. From the studies and information available on the internet, my PSA and PCA3 levels probably indicate that my risk of having prostate cancer is under 20%. So, it’s not a definite “NO”, but it is more information than I had before and certainly not a “YES”, either. If nothing else, it would seem to make it very unlikely that I have a large or aggressive cancer. I’ll get a copy of the report next week.
My biopsy was originally scheduled for earlier this week. After my research, I postponed it until I had received the results of this test and investigated some alternatives. I may still have a biopsy, but I’m a little more at ease that I have some time to do some research and get another consultation or two before I make the choice. More on that next week, but it’s good news for now!