Introduction to PSA
PSA stands for prostate specific antigen. It is tested using a blood test to help with the diagnosis of conditions such as prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate.
What is Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)?
PSA stands for prostate specific antigen. It is tested using a blood test to help with the diagnosis of conditions such as prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate. The prostate makes PSA and a raised level may mean you have prostate cancer. However in about 2 out of 3 men with a raised PSA level do not have prostate cancer. They may have acute retention of urine, an enlarged prostate, of older age, have a urine infection, have acute prostatitis or may have recently had a catheter to help pass urine.
How is PSA performed?
The PSA test is a blood test, measuring the levels of PSA in your blood. If you decide to have a PSA test, your doctor will usually give you a digital rectal exam as well. A digital rectal exam will find out if the prostate is enlarged or feel abnormal. These two tests can aid in the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
How to prepare for a PSA procedure?
There is not much you can do to prepare for a PSA test. You should not have a PSA test in the following circumstances: If you have an active urine infection, have ejaculated in the previous 48 hours, have heavily exercised in the previous 48 hours, ave had a prostate biopsy in the previous 6 weeks or had a digital rectal examination in the previous week.
Any of the above can give an abnormally raised PSA result.
What happens after a PSA procedure?
If your PSA is not raised, you are unlikely to have prostate cancer. Usually no further action is needed, however you may need a repeat test in the future.
If your PSA level is slightly raised, you are still unlikely to have prostate cancer. However you are likely to need a repeat PSA test in the future.
If your PSA level is definitely raised, you will be refereed to a specialist for further tests. This may involve having a prostate biopsy to confirm or rule out prostate cancer.