Prostate Specific Antigen PSA
Also Known As: Prostate-Specific Antigen Test, Total PSA, PSA Test, Prostate Blood Test
What Is A PSA, TOTAL Test?
A PSA or prostate-specific antigen test is used to measure the level of PSA in your bloodstream.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland, an integral part of a man's reproductive system.
It is situated below the bladder and helps produce a fluid part of your semen. PSA is another substance produced by the prostate. Men usually have low PSA levels in their blood, so high levels can signify prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer type affecting men worldwide. However, according to some studies and research, elevated PSA levels can also mean non-cancerous prostate conditions, including infection or benign prostatic hyperplasia, i.e., a benign or non-cancerous enlargement of your prostate.
There is no evidence that prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause prostate cancer. Still, you can have one or both of these conditions and develop prostate cancer in the future.
What Is The Test Used For?
A total prostate-specific antigen test can easily determine if you have high levels of PSA in your blood. Usually, PSA is generated and released within the prostate gland, where it helps form semen and plays an essential role in fertility. Only a small portion of prostate-specific antigen moves out of the prostate and into your blood. Still, different prostate conditions can result in higher antigen levels in the blood serum.
Your doctor or health care provider can ask you to undergo a PSA test for one of the following reasons:
For Cancer Screening
Your doctor can ask for a prostate-specific antigen test to check for cancer even with no obvious symptoms. People with prostate cancer often show elevated PSA levels in their blood, but this condition can also be present in people without prostate cancer. The decision regarding using or not using this test screen for prostate cancer is quite individualized, depending on your risk factors and health history. It would be best if you worked with your doctor to understand the benefits and risks of this test concerning your exact situation.
For Diagnostic Purposes
The healthcare provider will recommend this test if you show signs and symptoms of prostate cancer or if the prostate gland does not appear normal during your physical examination.
An elevated level of prostate-specific antigen demonstrates an issue with the prostate, such as prostate cancer, inflammation of the prostate, and benign prostatic hyperplasia. These test results can lead to more follow-up testing by the doctor to confirm the diagnosis.
Follow Up And Monitoring Purposes
If your doctor diagnoses you with prostate cancer or BPH, he may order this test more frequently to monitor the effects of the treatment plan. If you have already completed the treatment for prostate cancer, a PSA test can be used to check for the reappearance of cancer cells.
Why And When Do You Need A PSA, Total Test?
Prostate cancer is prevalent and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths. Early detection serves as an essential tool in getting timely and accurate treatment. When you have prostate cancer, it can lead to elevated levels of PSA. However, it can also be due to some non-cancerous conditions. The test is essential to detect high levels of PSA in the blood and provide precise diagnostic information related to the condition of the prostate.
You may need to get this test done if you have certain risk factors for prostate cancer. Some of these are:
- Being African American because prostate cancer is quite common in African American men, the reason for which is still unknown
- A brother or father with prostate cancer
- Your age because prostate cancer is more common in people over 50
Your doctor will also advise you to get a PSA test done if you:
- Have symptoms such as frequent or painful urination and pelvic or back pain
- Have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer only want to monitor the effects of the treatment plan
What Kind Of Sample Is Required For The Test?
Professional healthcare providers collect prostate-specific antigen testing samples at labs, hospitals, and other medical settings. Before getting the test done, you must talk to the doctor about the risks and benefits. The lab technician takes a blood sample from your arm for the test. They will then send it to the lab for further analysis.
Do You Need To Prepare For The Test?
Before taking the PSA test, your doctor will advise you to avoid having sex or masturbating for at least 24 hours, as releasing semen can elevate your prostate-specific antigen levels.
Are There Any Risks To This Test?
Since it is a standard blood test, you don't have to worry about any risks related to the procedure. You may experience pain or bruise at the injection site, but the symptoms do not last long and usually go away quickly.
What do the test results mean?
It might take several days for you to receive the test results, but once you have the reports, it is best to consult with your doctor as soon as possible. The PSA test results should be interpreted with extreme caution, which means that your doctor has to consider a wide range of factors like your age, ethnicity, and some other medications you are consuming. Doctors rarely make diagnostic conformations based on elevated PSA test results; instead, they look for the trends in your prostate-specific antigen levels over time along with other diagnostic results.
If your test results show high PSA levels, the doctor will recommend some follow-up tests to look for a cause. The test results can also make your doctor go for a biopsy if they suspect cancer. However, most people referred for a biopsy due to high PSA levels do not have cancer. It is primarily due to non-cancerous conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary tract infections, and prostatitis.
Suppose your test results show elevated PSA levels during or after getting prostate cancer treatment. In that case, it is best to consult with your healthcare professional regarding the actual interpretation of your test results. If you are undergoing prostate cancer treatment, consistently high PSA levels show the need to review the treatment plan. But if you have abnormal test results after completing cancer treatment, your health care provider will consider the type of treatment you got when analyzing PSA results. It is because, in most cases, rising PSA after completion of treatment indicates that cancer has returned.
Related Tests: Urine Test, PSA Velocity Test, Testosterone test, sex hormone binding globulin test
Frequently ordered together
Blood Urea Nitrogen BUN
Renal Function Test
Urine Analysis Complete
Ultrasound Bladder-Prostate Pre and Post-Void
Prostate Specific Antigen Total with reflex
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin SHBG
Ultrasound TRANSRECTAL PROSTATE
Ultrasound PROSTATE VOLUME STUDY FOR BRACHYTHERAPY PLANNING
See Physicians Online
- Acid Base Disorders
- Hematuria (Blood in urine)
- Proteinuria (Protein in urine)
- Acute Kidney Failure
- Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) including diabetes related CKD
- End stage renal disease needing dialysis or Kidney Transplant
- Kidney Stones
Hasan Riaz MD
Tatiana Arilha Thom, MD
- General and Urgent Care- all ages
Yanelquis Torres, MD
- Sleep Apnea
- Sleep Disorders
- Jet Lag Disorder
- Shift Work Sleep Disorder
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Ayesha Aslam Mughal, MD
- Acute And Chronic Conditions
Fabiola Baptiste, NP
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
Raga Mohamed Ali Osman