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I heard through another agent this morning about a 68 year old client of theirs who was declined by Banner Life due to his PSA increasing from 2.1 to 3.1 over the last 15 months.

It must be really dark where that underwriter keeps their head. If the client was young that might be cause maybe for a postpone to get a checkup with a urologist, but old guys have several reasons to be cut some slack on the PSA issue. First and foremost is that almost all guys in their late 60’s have an increasing PSA. A large percentage suffer from BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophy, enlargement of the prostate, and this drives the PSA up. Prostatitis becomes more common and that drives the PSA up. And, there is always the chance that a guy has prostate cancer and that would increase the PSA.

While the word cancer might send some into a dizzying downward spiral, everything I have studied would suggest 1. That a change in PSA from 2.1 to 3.1 in 15 months shouldn’t be alarming at age 68 because at worst it might point to a low grade prostate cancer and 2. low grade prostate cancer at age 68 is, in the whole scheme of things at that age, hardly a mortality risk.

The other issue with that small an increase in PSA with both readings falling well within the normal range, is that the PSA test is known for its’ ability to be enormously inconsistent. One study showed that when testing was done 3 times over a 90 day period 46% remained pretty constant, 33% had changes of 1% and the largest changes were an increase of 7.5 and a decrease of 5.3.

So the accuracy or at least consistency of the test is at least not the quality that an underwriter should want. It certainly begs to wonder why anyone, underwriter, doctor or Fedex driver would jump to any conclusion based on two readings 15 months apart. It isn’t a well spent leap of assumption.

Bottom line. Banner has been acting a bit rudderless lately and this type of decision is indicative of that more than what a client or agent should expect.