What is Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)?
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. It is secreted into the bloodstream and can be measured with a blood test.
Why is PSA testing done?
PSA testing is done to help detect prostate cancer in men. It is typically recommended for men over the age of 50, or for men at higher risk for prostate cancer due to family history or other factors. PSA testing can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for prostate cancer.
How is PSA testing done?
PSA testing is done with a blood sample. A healthcare provider will draw a small amount of blood from a vein in the arm, usually using a needle and vial. The blood is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
What is a normal PSA level?
A normal PSA level is generally considered to be less than 4 ng/mL. However, it is important to note that PSA levels can vary depending on age, ethnicity, and other factors. It is also important to discuss any concerns about PSA levels with a healthcare provider.
What can cause an elevated PSA level?
Elevated PSA levels can be caused by several factors, including prostate cancer, an enlarged prostate, or prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate). Other factors that can affect PSA levels include certain medications, such as finasteride or dutasteride, and recent prostate or urinary tract procedures.
What is a biopsy and when is it recommended?
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the prostate gland for laboratory analysis. It is typically recommended if a man has an elevated PSA level or other suspicious findings on a digital rectal exam.
Are there any risks or limitations to PSA testing?
There are some risks and limitations to PSA testing. For example, PSA levels can be elevated in men with benign (non-cancerous) prostate conditions, leading to unnecessary biopsies and potential complications. PSA testing may also not be as effective in detecting aggressive or advanced prostate cancers.
National Cancer Institute. (2021). Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/diagnosis-staging/tests/psa
American Cancer Society. (2021). Prostate Cancer Early Detection. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) Test. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psa-test/about/pac-20392935
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021). Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007445.htm