Diagnostics

DIAGNOSTIC TEST | PCA3: screening test for prostate cancer

The PCA3 test is a molecular prognostic test that helps to determine whether a prostate biopsy is necessary. It involves examining a urine sample to look for the prostate cancer antigen 3 (PCA3) gene. This biomarker can reveal whether the patient is at low or high risk of developing prostate cancer.

The PCA3 test isn’t a substitute for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Rather, it’s an additional tool that helps determine whether a prostate biopsy is truly needed for a diagnosis of prostate cancer in a man already suspected of having this disease. Contrary to PSA, PCA3 is a gene that is linked specifically to prostate cancer. It’s only produced by prostate cancer cells and is not dependent on prostate size. A PCA3 test is more effective than a PSA test at differentiating prostate cancer from benign (non-cancerous) prostate diseases such as benign prostate hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate) or prostatitis (a prostate infection). When used in conjunction with a PSA test, the PCA3 test provides key information for determining whether a prostate biopsy is necessary.

How are the results of the PCA3 test interpreted?
The PCA3 test follows a standard procedure: after a digital rectal exam (DRE), cancer cells with high levels of PCA3 are expelled from the prostate and pass into the urine. A urine sample is collected by the nurse and sent to a private laboratory in WARNEX, where the PCA3 score of the sample is measured.

A high PCA3 score indicates there’s an increased likelihood that prostate cancer cells are present, and therefore an increased likelihood that there’s prostate cancer in the patient. A low PCA3 score indicates there’s a decreased likelihood that prostate cancer cells are present. In such cases, the biopsy can be avoided or postponed. The PCA3 test thereby allows patients to avoid unnecessary biopsy procedures and their accompanying potential complications including pain, bleeding and infections.

The PCA3 test can also be performed on men who’ve already had one or more negative biopsies. In these circumstances, it will be possible to predict the likelihood that a new biopsy will be positive or negative and to assess whether it’s necessary for the patient to undergo the biopsy procedure again.



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Dr. Marois is a urologist who is not a member of the Régie d’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ). As such, the clinic can not claim the RAMQ for the payment of his services. If you consult Dr Marois, you must pay for the services rendered.

Cancellation of appointment:

To ensure the smooth running of the clinic and a minimum of courtesy towards other patients and our staff, we ask you to notify us 48 hours in advance for the cancellation of a consultation, 5 working days in advance for a surgery at the office and 21 working days in advance for a major surgery. If these deadlines are not respected, a cancellation fee of 50% of the service will be charged.

Change of appointment:

We understand that events occur, so we ask you to provide us with at least a 24-hour notice for any change in their appointment; we will be happy to accommodate you, the best we can. However, if you fail to inform us within this timeframe or do not show up, we will charge a $ 100 fee.

Thank you for your understanding.

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