The PSA, prostate specific antigen, test has been the standard for decades for determining the chances of a man having prostate cancer and the need for further diagnostic testing through a needle biopsy.

The problem that has become apparent in the medical and life insurance world is that, in reality, an elevated PSA is actually not an accurate indicator for either of those assumptions. PSA levels are more frequently indicative of prostatitis, an inflammatin of the prostate, or BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophty (enlarged prostate).

Studies recently have shown that the predictive value of an elevated PSA, as it is associated with prostate cancer, is not, by many, considered strong enough to warrant the invasive needle biopsy. Scientists and physicians agree that some new marker needs to be found that can more accurately assess the need for further procedures.

From a life insurance standpoint, a new and better marker would be helpful. Many clients are postponed due to elevated PSA’s pending further investigation. At this point, with no other tests available, what they are saying is go have a biopsy and then let’s talk. The problem for the client is that they are being asked to have a test that is truly a hit or miss test in itself, along with not being risk free.

Bottom line. Anyone would want to have their prostate cancer detected early. Early detection leads to better survival and lower life insurance rates. Nobody wants to have an unnecessary needle biopsy though.