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Dan Lundeen: A Simple, Noninvasive Test Saves a Life

Dan Lundeen had a slightly elevated PSA score when he took his first test in July 2014 at the age of 57. “It wasn’t very high, and the conventional wisdom on the street is that it doesn’t make sense to monitor your PSA levels because of the number of false positives and unnecessary biopsies. Plus, the treatment could be worse than the disease. I get plenty of exercise, eat a plant-based diet and don’t smoke. I had no family history of prostate cancer. I wasn’t worried.”

To be on the safe side, Lundeen’s internist Adam Weinstein, D.O., suggested that he have blood drawn for a groundbreaking noninvasive test called the Prostate Health Index (PHI). When his PHI score came back greater than 100 – above the upper range of the scale and indicative of the highest risk of prostate cancer reported by the test – Dr. Weinstein referred his patient to the Vanguard Urologic Institute at Memorial Hermann Medical Group.

Urologists feel that the PHI gives a more accurate reading and reduces the incidence of false positives associated with the PSA blood test. Higher PHI scores often are associated with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Based on his PHI result, Lundeen made the decision to undergo a transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy.. His biopsy report showed Gleason 7 in four out of 12 core samples taken, indicating the presence of a moderately aggressive cancer.

Lundeen discussed the treatment options with his physician, which included watchful waiting, radiation therapy, cryotherapy and open and robotic surgery. After their discussion, Lundeen did his own research about the treatment options available. He also got a second opinion. “Everyone’s cancer is different,” he says. “Most prostate cancers are slow growing so if you don’t expect to live longer than 10 years the chances are good that you’ll die with it rather than from it. I’m relatively young and healthy so more aggressive treatment made sense to me. I also considered the benefits of having the surgery now, when I’m younger and can recover faster. There’s a lot to think about, and you have to look at the statistics given your particular situation. I was nervous about having surgery but if I put it off, I knew I would live with that anxiety much longer.”

Lundeen decided to move forward with a robotic prostatectomy, which was performed in September 2014. “:The surgery went very smoothly. The PHI test saved my life. I would never have had the biopsy if it weren’t for the PHI test.”

The PHI test combines three different PSA-based serum markers: the PSA, the free PSA and a novel clipped form of the precursor to PSA, called 2proPSA.