What Is A Prostate Specific Antigen Exam?

A prostate specific antigen exam is a test, which will indicate the presence of prostate cancer.

Prostate Specific Antigen test or PSA is a screening test for men from 50 years old and up.The testing will monitor for the possibility of prostate cancer.According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer should test at an earlier age about 45 years old and screen yearly along with having a digital rectal exam.

There has been some discussion as to the benefit of testing healthy men.The PSA test may detect early cancer.However, because prostate cancer is very slow to advance, it may never become life threatening.Unnecessary early detection may bring about further treatment and testing causing anxiety without much advantage.Prostate cancer is prevalent in the USA and is diagnosed second only to skin cancer.The Prostate Specific Antigen screening is not routine.The test would more likely be used when the risk is high for cancer.

The prostate cells produce a protein called PSA.PSA is a chemical reaction in the cells and is a good indicator for the presence of prostate cancer.It is present in all males however if the levels are elevated it could mean enlargement of the prostate, infection or even cancer.

Digital rectal exams will usually come after the blood work because of accuracy.The blood sample will indicate the level of PSA.The initial screening will be the total PSA test.Free PSA testing may be done additionally when total PSA levels are mildly elevated to contrast between non-cancerous ailments and prostate cancer.The digital rectal exam may be ordered or a biopsy in order to confirm the presence of prostate cancer.

Reading Test Results

Total PSA has a normal value of under 4.0 nanograms per milliliter of blood.If the levels for total PSA are more than 10.0ng/ml, it may point to prostate cancer.If the levels are between 4.0 and 10.0, it could be non-cancerous edema or swelling of the prostate.The elderly often have this condition.Infection can indicate prostatitis triggered by an infection.

High PSA levels necessitates the next step in treatment.The very slow growth of prostate cancer means it may develop for years and not cause major problems.Early detection and taking advantage of treatments may prevent some related health problems and lesson the risk of death from the cancer.However, sexual complications and the possibility of incontinence are side effects of the treatments.Some men choose to continue without treatment especially if they are70 years of age or older and the symptoms are manageable.The PSA test would not be required in this instance.


- There are four choices for treatment.Discuss these options in depth with the physician.Each has similar advantages and complications.

- Wait with no treatment within the framework of age, aggressiveness of the cancer, and physical health.Discuss this option with your physician.

- Hormone treatment to slow the growth and reduce symptoms of prostate cancer.This is not a cure.Loss of bladder control, impotence, and injury to the rectal area may develop.

- Radiation may cure the cancer or relieve symptoms complications may be rectal injury, incontinence, and impotence.

- Prostatectomy surgery removal of the prostate gland may bring about a cure and relieve symptoms.Complications may be impotence, incontinence, and the surgery could cause a narrowing of the urethra, and potential rectal injury.

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