The Prostate Health Index (phi) is a convenient blood test that is 3 times more specific than PSA in detecting prostate cancer than PSA and free PSA alone.*1,9,10
- phi measures 3 different types of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) and is a more accurate way to assess prostate cancer risk than PSA and percent free PSA alone.*1,9,10
- phi values are associated with increased probability of prostate cancer, and with more aggressive disease.1
- phi can also help differentiate prostate cancer from benign conditions and possibly reduce 26%* of unnecessary biopsies for men with elevated PSA levels within a certain range.1
If you are a patient interested in learning more, download this brochure to take to your physician.
I am interested in learning more about the Prostate Health Index (phi)
Why get tested?
Testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is one of the most common prostate cancer screening methods used today. Prostate cancer causes changes to the prostate gland structure that can lead to increased “leakage” of PSA into the bloodstream. But increased PSA levels can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions such as enlargement of the prostate (known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH). This means that PSA testing often suggests that cancer is present when there is none. It also detects a high number of slow-growing tumors that otherwise may persist for many years with no ill effects (sometimes referred to as indolent tumors). As a result, PSA-based prostate cancer screening subjects many men to needless medical procedures:
- Over 1 million US men per year have prostate biopsies due to elevated PSA, but only 25% actually have cancer. 4
- Prostate biopsies can have complications such as fever, infection, bleeding, urinary problems, and pain, which may require hospitalization.
- Overtreatment due to prostate cancer misdiagnosis often causes lasting damage, including erectile dysfunction, urinary or bowel incontinence, and serious surgical complications.
- It is estimated that for every life saved by PSA screening, 48 men suffer harm from treatment.5
STEP 1 – Get Tested
The phi test can help assess a man’s current risk for having prostate cancer. It is intended to help determine whether an individual patient would benefit from a biopsy.
STEP 2 – Understand your results
Arrange an appointment to discuss your results and risk score with your medical practitioner. Together you and your doctor can determine if you should have a biopsy.
STEP 3 – Follow the plan established by your medical provider
When caught in its earliest stages, prostate cancer can be beaten. It is critical that you follow your medical provider’s advice, which may include other diagnostic tests such as a prostate biopsy, or dietary and lifestyle changes that may reduce prostate cancer risk.
About Prostate Cancer
The prostate, a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, is important to male sexual function and urinary control. As men age, their prostate cells undergo alterations in shape and size that may be a precursor to cancer. Most prostate cancers progress very slowly, but aggressive forms of the disease can become life-threatening, spreading to the bone marrow and other organs in a process called “metastasis.” Early detection of these aggressive cancers is the key to survival.
Although the specific cause of prostate cancer is unknown, possible risk factors include the following:3
- Age (risk rises rapidly after age 50; about 60% of cases are found in men over the age of 65)
- Race/ethnicity (prostate cancer occurs more often in men of African ancestry)
- Family history of prostate cancer (risk is more than doubled for men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer, and is much higher for men with several affected relatives)
- Diet high in red meat or high-fat dairy products, and low in fruits and vegetables
- Obesity (linked to risk of more aggressive prostate cancer)
- Smoking (linked to risk of more aggressive prostate cancer)
- Exposure to Agent Orange
Signs and symptoms
Prostate cancer is usually asymptomatic in its early stages. Symptoms of advanced disease may include one or more of the following:3
- Problems with urination, including difficulty starting to urinate, a weak urinary stream, or more frequent urination, especially at night
- Blood in the urine
- Painful urination or ejaculation
- Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
- Bone pain, often in the spine, pelvis, or ribs
- Leg weakness and urinary or fecal incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)
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