Follow-up appointments

After treatment, you will need regular checkups to monitor your health and see whether the prostate cancer has returned. This will involve testing your PSA level at regular intervals.

Your PSA levels will vary depending on the treatment you received. After surgery, your PSA level should drop quickly to 0 or close to 0, as there are no prostate cells left to produce the antigen. After radiotherapy, your PSA level will drop gradually and it may take 2–3 years for your PSA to reach its lowest level. If you have ADT as well as radiotherapy, your PSA levels will generally be quite low while undergoing treatment.

Your doctor will decide how often you need check-ups or a PSA test. Over time, if there are no further problems, your check-ups will become less frequent. If you notice any new symptoms in-between checkups, you should let your GP or specialist know.

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PSA test results

The PSA is only one test and it might not accurately reflect what is happening to the cancer. The PSA test can be useful early in the disease, to allow diagnosis and monitor the need for treatment, and to detect the return of the cancer. As the cancer progresses the PSA test becomes less useful. Your doctor will also consider any symptoms you might or might not have, and the results of other blood tests and scans. These all help to build a picture of what is happening to the cancer that is more accurate and informative than just the PSA test alone.

This information was last reviewed in April 2016
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