After prostate cancer treatment
What follow-up do I need?
No matter what type of cancer treatment you get, you will still need to go back to hospital for regular check-ups once it is over. This is called follow-up.
The follow-up will involve having PSA blood tests, and maybe DRE tests. It’s also a chance for you to ask any questions and to let the doctor know if you have any side-effects that are bothering you or if you are finding it hard to cope.
At first you will see your consultant every 3 months but these check-ups will become less frequent. You may have follow-up appointments to check your PSA for many years. Some men have PSA tests at the hospital or you may have them at your local GP surgery.
If you are between check-ups and have a symptom or problem that is worrying you, call your specialist nurse for advice or to arrange an earlier outpatient appointment if necessary.
If you become suddenly unwell and can’t contact your specialist nurse or hospital team, go to your GP or the accident and emergency department at the hospital.
What is PSA bounce?
If treatment has been successful you would expect the PSA level to drop. Sometimes your PSA may rise again after radiation treatment, as some prostate cells may still produce PSA. Sometimes the PSA level may rise and then fall again one to two years after treatment. This is called a PSA bounce. It is not necessarily a sign that the cancer has come back. The PSA should drop to its lowest level after 18 months to 2 years after radiotherapy. This is often called the PSA nadir.
What if the cancer comes back?
If the cancer comes back in your prostate or somewhere else, your doctor will advise you about your treatment options. This may include taking part in a clinical trial. You might also find it reassuring to have another medical opinion. Your doctor will refer you to another specialist for a second opinion if you feel this would be helpful.
Read more about metastatic prostate cancer.
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