POSTED: September 04, 2015

Scans To Detect Cancer Spread?

A patient asked me the following question, which I answered in Prostate Forum Volume 14 # 7.

Dear Dr. Myers: Regarding recurrence of prostate cancer following radical prostatectomy: what tests or scans can be done to help determine if the cancer is restricted to the prostate bed or has spread elsewhere.  Are there any techniques that can be used when the PSA is 0.2 or less?

I answered: The only tests that can locate the cancer with any success are the new imaging tests. This has been discussed in several earlier questions. In general, these tests are not successful until the PSA hits 2 ng/ml.
The odds that the cancer is limited to the prostate bed are greatest if the PSA doubling time is slower than 9 months. Similarly, this is more likely if it takes 3 or more years for the PSA to start to increase. However, these cancers are also those most likely to be slowed by nontoxic treatments, suck as pomegranate.

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