Monitoring Your Success

Keeping Your Recovery On Track

A key part of your care is monitoring how well your prostate cancer responds to your treatment. Successful monitoring includes:

  • Keeping your doctor's appointments.
  • Having regular PSA tests to track the progress of your prostate cancer.
  • Carefully following your doctor’s instructions.

Your physician may look at the following parameters to monitor your progress.

  • After radical prostatectomy:
    • Your Gleason score
    • If your PSA increases, how much it increases and how long it takes to do so
    • How long it takes for your PSA number to double
  • After radiation therapy:
    • The lowest PSA number after treatment (known as the nadir)
    • PSA value that fails to decline following radiation therapy
    • The number of consecutive rises in PSA levels


Your doctor may have told you about biochemical recurrence (or relapse). Biochemical recurrence means that the level of PSA in your blood has gone up even though your treatment was initially successful. A person with biochemical recurrence may not have had any symptoms for months or years.30

Biochemical recurrence may mean that the prostate cancer has returned. Your doctor will conduct additional tests to confirm whether your prostate cancer has returned or advanced. If so, he or she will work with you to develop your treatment plan.