CBS News recently interviewed Georgia Cancer Specialists physician Dr. Jayanthi Srinivasiah (Dr. Jay) about a recent study that found a possible flaw in the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test used for prostate cancer. The story aired on Thursday, June 3, during CBS’ “Ask the Medical Experts” health program.
The study, reported by April Nelson, found that the PSA test, the standard screening test for prostate cancer, misses 15 percent of older men’s tumors, including some aggressive ones, when interpreted under existing guidelines.
The PSA test measures bloodstream levels of a protein manufactured by the prostate. Cancer expands the gland, pumping out more of the protein and raising the PSA count. A count of 4 or below (calculated in nanograms per milliliter) has been widely considered to be normal.
“This tells us the level alone is not sufficient,” Dr. Jay said in the piece.
Researchers found that 15 percent of 2,950 men ages 62 to 91 had prostate cancer despite normal PSA counts and rectal exams; 2 percent of the overall group had tumors that looked aggressive under a microscope.
“We have to look at symptoms, family history of prostate cancer, history of smoking, and other risk factors,” Dr. Jay said, “and then correlate that with the (PSA) test.”
Dr. Jay practices at the GCS DeKalb office and the GCS Stemmer office in Decatur.