Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate gland in men. PSA testing is commonly used to screen for prostate cancer, a disease that affects one in every eight men. However, it’s important to note that having an elevated PSA level does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer.
When to test for PSA:
PSA testing is generally recommended for men between the ages of 50 and 70, although it may be recommended earlier if you have a family history of prostate cancer or if you are experiencing symptoms such as frequent urination or difficulty urinating.
Conditions associated with PSA:
PSA levels can be elevated in non-cancerous conditions as well, such as prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges and causes urinary problems.
When is it raised:
PSA levels can also be raised in men who have prostate cancer, although not all men with prostate cancer will have elevated PSA levels. The level of PSA in the blood can be influenced by a number of factors, such as age, race, and certain medications.
What to do if it is raised:
If a person’s PSA level is found to be elevated, further testing may be recommended by your doctor to determine the cause. This may include a digital rectal exam and/or a prostate biopsy. Treatment options for prostate cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, or watchful waiting. For non-cancerous conditions such as prostatitis or BPH, treatment options may include medications or surgery.
In conclusion, PSA testing can be an important tool in detecting prostate cancer and other conditions affecting the prostate gland. It is important for men to discuss with their doctors whether PSA testing is appropriate for them, and to be aware of the potential risks and benefits associated with the test. Alternatively, you can book a private at-home PSA test to give you peace of mind. If your PSA level is found to be elevated, further testing and treatment options should be discussed with your doctor.