Prostate-Specific Ag, Serum PSA Facts
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is a protein with a sugar molecule attached that is found in prostate cells. It can be detected at a low level in the blood of all healthy adult men. The PSA test is done to screen for prostate cancer and other conditions in men.
Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly without causing major problems. Early detection and treatment may prevent some cancer related health problems and could reduce the risk of guys dying from the cancer.
What causes the PSA level to Rise?
Several conditions besides cancer can cause the PSA level to rise. These include urinary tract infections (UTI), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostatitis. Normal values vary with age. Older men typically have slightly higher PSA measurements than younger men. A high PSA level has been linked to an increased chance of having prostate cancer. However, a high PSA level does not mean that you definitely have prostate cancer. A high PSA level only identifies patients at higher risk of having prostate cancer. A PSA of greater than 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is high for most men and may indicate the need for a prostate biopsy.
The American Urologic Association, the American Cancer Society, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend that all men have annual PSA tests beginning at age 50.
Testing is recommended at an earlier age (age 40 or 45) if you have any of the following risk factors: African American heritage, Father or brother with Prostate Cancer.
Finasteride and Dutasteride, which are used to treat enlarged prostates, can artificially lower the PSA level.
Annual PSA testing can detect an abnormal change in PSA occurring over a period of time, which is a valuable addition to screening for prostate cancer.
What are normal results for a PSA test?
Between 0 – 4 nanograms per milliliters
An abnormal PSA blood test may be an indication for Prostate Cancer. Enlargement of the prostate and other benign disorders can also cause an elevated reading.
How is the PSA test performed?
Blood is drawn at a legal to prescribe lab test facility located near you. No doctor’s office visit needed.
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