HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
Over 7,000 Midstate men received letters from PinnacleHealth informing them that the results they received for a check on of their prostate specific antigens (PSA) may have been significantly higher than their actual level.
We spoke with one man who explains why a false positive might be anything but a negative.
"I took two tours in Vietnam, growing up as a black man in America had its challenges, but being told I had cancer, especially 21 years ago meant a death sentence," said Jim Williams from his Camp Hill.
He is a prostate cancer survivor. His diagnosis came 22 years ago, following a PSA test.
"It was elevated, which puts out a warning sign that something is going on. It doesn't say cancer," he said.
But an elevated level can be an early indicator and seemed to be for thousands in the Midstate who had their PSA tests performed by PinnacleHealth in the past year.
PinnacleHealth says this is due to a laboratory reagent being recalled in the laboratory.
"PinnacleHealth has notified all affected patients and ordering physicians of the recall and recommended that those that had a PSA in this time frame (May, 2012 and June 26, 2013) should have a repeat PSA performed at no cost," the company said in a statement.
The problem is that due to the false results, many could have had expensive follow up tests performed, and that's the cost that Williams is concerned with.
"Depending on your insurance plan it may be or may not be paid for," he said.
Still, Williams sees promise in the number of men who are monitoring their PSA levels. At 77-years-old, he's glad he did.
"If I had not been diagnosed and treated successfully I would not have the privilege of seeing my daughter marry or meeting my two wonderful grandchildren," he said.
Williams advises that anyone who received one of those letters from PinncaleHealth take advantage of the free repeat test.