Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I had radiation therapy for prostate cancer- finished 4 weeks ago. My psa was just checked yesterday- should it be 0?
Neha Vapiwala , MD, Senior Editor of OncoLink and Chief Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
The answer is that it depends. If you had your prostate gland removed with surgery and then got radiation afterwards for recurrent disease, then your PSA is likely supposed to be zero or "undetectable", (this wording depends on the lab). If you still have a prostate gland in place (i.e. just had radiation, no surgery), then your PSA will not necessarily become zero, nor does it need to in order to indicate treatment success. The most important thing is the PSA trend over time, and one PSA value taken 4 weeks after therapy is too early to say anything.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Prostate cancer treatment: where are we now?