Harvard Men's Health Watch

Prostate help: A test that can help you avoid unnecessary prostate biopsies

When you've already had a biopsy and your PSA remains high, the PCA3 urine test can help you and your doctor to decide if another biopsy is really needed.

Prostate biopsy is not an experience you want to go through without a good reason. Although some men weather it with only moderate pain and discomfort, other men would prefer the first biopsy to be their last. Now, a urine test called PCA3 can help reduce unnecessary biopsies.

Right now, the science doesn't back the use of PCA3 as a general "go/no go" test before all biopsies. But the FDA has approved it for one specific situation. "The PCA3 test should only be used to consider having a repeat biopsy after a previous biopsy shows no cancer and yet PSA remains high," says Dr. Marc B. Garnick, a prostate cancer specialist at Harvard Medical School and Beth -Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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