Avatar universal

Is a HIGH PSA level a sure indicator of Prostrate cancer?

I am sure most responses to this will be to seek medical attention, but at the moment that is not an option. I am a 60 year old male. Recently I had a bad auto accident caused by high blood pressure and blacking out at the wheel. On meds for that now. While being taken care of for that they found an enlarged prostrate and an elevated PSA level of 37, and then next time it was 34. I had an appointment scheduled to do a biopsy, but when I received my latest bill from the hospital I canceled that appointment. WITH my ins. I owe them over $5000. We do not have this type of money. I am a single parent of an adult child who has Muscular Dystrophy. Our money is very limited and it is all we can do to stay on top of the bills we have. When I canceled the appointment I told them that best case scenario they would find nothing and I would have additional bills, and worst case they would find prostrate cancer and want additional procedures up too and including removal and again I can not afford this. It will put us on the street. I can't do that to my child. Is there a possibility that a level that high could be from the enlarged prostrate and not be cancer? Scared and backed into a wall.
6 Responses
707563 tn?1587576687
I'm so sorry that you are in this situation. It shouldn't have to be this way.

Yes, there are other conditions that can cause an elevated PSA - benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a common one. Have they done any other tests, like a digital exam (using fingers) or imaging? Here is more info on BPH - https://www.medicinenet.com/benign_prostatic_hyperplasia/article.htm

Here are some other reasons why it might be elevated - https://www.medicinenet.com/prostate_specific_antigen/article.htm#what_causes_psa_elevation_in_the_blood

Something to think about - talk to the hospital about financial assistance programs. Even with insurance, you may qualify, especially with a dependent child. Yes, prostate cancer is expensive, but many men survive it if treated early (my own father had an aggressive form of it and survived 12 years, and he was older than you when diagnosed). If it goes untreated, it could spread, which would complicate treatment.

Many pharmaceutical companies also offer assistance programs. My father used many of them.

It's scary, I know, but not impossible. Check out your resources with the hospital to start, and go from there.

Best of luck to you.  
Avatar universal
Thank you Bobby for the response. This week I spoke with the hospital about the bill and they said they are sending me the forms for assistance with this. No, at this point they have done no additional testing other than the blood test which showed the high PSA level. About 8 or 9 years ago I did have a prostrate biopsy and they said they found no cancer BUT pre-cancerous  symptoms. Not sure exactly what that means.
Actually thank you Bobby and Emily -
707563 tn?1587576687
I'm glad to hear you are looking into assistance programs.

I wonder if they found precancerous cells when they did the biopsy? You might want to call the doctor who did that biopsy and ask. It could be helpful now.

Keep us posted. :)
Well we will see what happens, the paper work came in the mail today so I will fill it out and send it back day after tomorrow. I would have to figure out who the doctor was. It was years ago, and before I moved to Texas. It was in Western New York. I believe I rememebr the doctors name. I will look into it and keep you posted. Thank for the reply - Have a Merry Chistmas
Avatar universal
If it is small tumors and contained if so urologist and oncologist can insert radiation pellets into the are.I am about to have the procedure done.I am 63 they caught in time with a biopsy.
Thanks for the response - I have sent in the paperwork for the financil aid but have not heard back from them yet. It's a waiting game at this point.
Hi Bobby - any word yet? How are you doing?
Just got back from the hospital.They implanted the radiation pellets.I pray they will destroy the cancer.Man am I sore.
Good Morning Emily
Has been quite a while since I have been back here. Have been fighting "other" medical issues that seem more important at the moment. As to the proptrate issue, my PSA level dropped to 27 but in the past two months has come up to 33.68. Was rushed to the emergency room a week ago because of severe urinary retention. Cathater was installed and I was released. All seems back to "normal" for the moment. Had an appointment with urologist yesterday. He did internal probe and said enlarged but did not find anything unusual?? I have to go for a Byopsy on Tuesday. We will see what that says. Never did hear back on the financial aid thing and now I have no medical coverage at all. I accepted another job and with the bills I had from the doctors seemed I needed the cash up front more than the ins.. That was dumb. I can sign up for it again now but will not take effect until January.

As to the other medical issues currently presenting them selfs, I mentioned earlier about the black out, well they have been happening more and more. One or two a week. I will get a bitter sweet taste or smell and then my short term memory is totally gone. Don't know where I am or what I should be doing??? They last for about three or four minutes and then all is back. Had an MRI last week that I had to pay cash for up front, and it found nothing abmornal??? Now they want me to have an EEG, and you  guessed it, cash up front.  I drive 25 miles each way to work daily. I have only had one of these episodes while driving and I was aware I was driving just had no idea where I was going or why. My son told me I was going to the bank because I bought a truck and I was going to get the money. I said I BOUGHT A TRUCK?????? Had no memory of it at all. We stopped and got a milkshake and in a few minutes memory was back and we finished what we were doing. I have to keep working and I have to keep driving to do it. My son is totally handicapped and my income is all we have.  It's not getting any easier. K gotta get ready for work again. Just needed to talk to someone. I don't share a lot of this with my son, he has his own issues to deal with. Thanks
Avatar universal
I realize this is an older thread from 2018, but in case new readers are looking at this, I wanted to put my 2 cents in.  Yes, high PSA can be due to other issues, but in most cases once it’s above 10, it’s very likely to be cancer. In fact, many men are diagnosed w/ PCa at MUCH lower levels - around 4.0 - 4.5 is considered the danger zone & guys have been diagnosed as low as 3 or lower. A PSA in the 30s should set off alarm bells. However, it you want to avoid a prostate biopsy, which is somewhat unpleasant & carries some risks, ask your Urologist to do a PHI test - it’s a simple blood test & is WAY more specific for PCa than PSA & way cheaper than a biopsy or MRI. PHI is ‘Prostate Health Index’, it takes PSA & 2 add’l blood markers & generates a #. Under 24 means <10% chance of cancer, 55 means 50% chance. I was diagnosed w/ PCa in May 2918, had a high PSA (9.2) but didn’t want the biopsy unless I knew it was necessary. I had the PHI test, unfortunately came back at 68, which indicated I almost certainly had cancer, then did the biopsy, which confirmed it, then had surgery in July 2018. But definitely do NOT ignore high PSAs - ask for the PHI test & then proceed accordingly...
207091 tn?1337709493
Yes, I agree with this - get the PHI test.

Also, see if you qualify for Medicaid or whatever they call it now. You might qualify based on your diagnoses alone, as catastrophic illnesses can be a qualifier. Each state has different guidelines. https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/606

I'm glad you came back to update us. You have so much going on, and maybe stress is playing a role - that wouldn't shock me at all - but when you get these procedures done, tell them you are self-pay and ask if they do a discount for self-pay. You can also call different imaging centers and get prices to compare.

Hang in there.
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