I and many others here would strongly encourage you to get copies of all pathology reports and results and keep your own file. As Jetlagged has pointed out the < symbol means 'less than', as in 4<5 (i.e. 4 is less than 5). Conversely when the symbol is this way > it means greater than i.e. 5>4 (i.e. 5 is greater than 4). It all depends on the way the symbol is facing. that ends todays maths lesson boys and girls
In PCa treatment most urologists consider a reading below 0.1 as undetectable which is written up as <0.1 (i.e. less than 0.1 ) Then we can get into ultrasensitive testing and its associated reports............. where readings using generation 2 (extra sensitive) equipment, when getting an undetectable result, will be written as <.01 or, if using the latest generation 3 (extra, extra sensitive) equipment an undetectable PSA may be reported as <0.003 (this is claimed to be the absolute lowest limit of detection)
When the prostate (seminal vesicles included and often some local lymph nodes) is removed it is sent to the pathology lab where it is frozen and sliced into thin sections and looked at under a microscope. If there is no cancer seen outside of the prostate gland then the cancer is said to be organ confined i.e. negative margins. If there is cancer outside the edges of the gland itself, then that would be reported as a positive margin and also the extent of the positive margin may be detailed (eg 1 mm). The seminal vesicles are also microscopically examined for cancer spread (this is a common
location when there is local escape) and the report will also detail whether seminal vesicles are positive or negative for cancer. Local lymph nodes if removed, are also looked at to see if the cancer has invaded them and this is also reported on. Finally when the prostate is removed the surgeon does not try to exactly trim around the edges of the gland..........he will take extra surrounding tissue (especially if the tumour appears close to the edges of the gland).........if this tissue is clear of tumour then the report will state negative surgical margins or, if the tumour is through where the surgeon cut, then the surgical margin is said to be positive. In PCa speak, negative is good, positive is bad.