Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

One couple's story: Handling prostate cancer in the face of differing biopsies

One couple's story: Handling prostate cancer in the face of differing biopsies

Several years ago, Elliot and Elizabeth Boyd* sought the help of a urologist who specializes in treating male sexual and reproductive issues and infertility. Elliot underwent varicocele repair, a procedure that can improve male fertility by eliminating blood flow to a swollen network of veins leading to the testicles. He also began taking clomiphene (Clomid), a drug that spurs the body's production of testosterone, and thus sperm. (For more information about clomiphene, see "Exogenous vs. endogenous testosterone.")

*Editor's note: The couple's names and certain biographical details have been changed to preserve their privacy. All medical details are as they reported them.

In 2004, at age 46, Elliot's PSA stood at an insignificant 1.4 ng/ml, well within the normal range of 0 to 4.0 ng/ml. By the end of 2006, it had jumped to 2.7 ng/ml. Given the relatively fast increase in Elliot's PSA, his family history of cancer (including prostate cancer), and his relatively young age (now 49), his physician recommended a prostate biopsy. One of the core samples revealed prostate cancer. A subsequent biopsy, however, came back negative. Now what?

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