The prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by the prostate gland (PSA). The PSA test should be done as part of your monthly checkups. It is, however, especially recommended for men who are at a higher risk of getting prostate cancer.
What is PSA?
PSA is produced by both healthy and cancerous cells. The PSA levels in the blood are determined by this test. The concentrations are shown in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). PSA values that are high could suggest prostate cancer or other benign diseases. When patients have any symptoms or when prostate cancer is suspected during digital rectal examinations, this test is utilized to identify malignancy.
The test is performed by drawing a blood sample from the patient and assessing their PSA levels.
Inflammation and enlargement of the prostate, in addition to prostate cancer, can cause increased PSA values. It's also possible that patients with both malignant and benign tumors have elevated PSA values.
When do men need PSA tests?
Men with an average risk to develop prostate cancer are advised to take the PSA test once in every 2 years. Most males over the age of 55 are encouraged to undergo the test after discussing the advantages, dangers, and restrictions with their doctors.
- PSA testing is not advised for men under the age of 40.
- For men between the ages of 40 and 54 who have an average risk of acquiring cancer, very frequent screening is not indicated.
- Men are advised to have a PSA screening every two years after speaking with their doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of PSA screening as well as the risk factors for prostate cancer. To avoid overdiagnosis, annual screenings are not recommended.
- PSA testing is not advised for men over the age of 70 with a life expectancy of fewer than 10 to 15 years.
PSA levels in the body are influenced by the following factors:
Patients who experience difficulties in the prostate gland are at a greater risk of higher PSA levels. PSA levels in the body tend to rise as people get older.
The patient's medical history plays a significant influence in varying PSA levels in the body, which is why patients must provide all of their medical information to the doctor before to PSA test. For benign prostate hyperplasia, drugs like finasteride and dutasteride reduce PSA levels by nearly half.
PSA test results:
Each man's normal PSA levels in the body differ. In all guys, it evolves through time. PSA levels of 4.0 ng/mL were previously considered abnormal. Patients with lower PSA levels have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in recent years, whilst those with higher PSA levels have not. As a result, scientists have concluded that there is no such thing as a normal or abnormal PSA level in the blood.
Extremely high PSA levels in the blood or a consistent rise in PSA levels, in general, suggest prostate cancer or benign diseases.
PSA screening after prostate cancer treatment:
Patients who have had their prostate cancer treated are more likely to have recurrent prostate cancer, which can raise PSA levels in the blood. Biochemical relapse is the term for this condition.
As a result, the PSA test for prostate cancer is frequently used to track recurrence. PSA levels, on the other hand, do not always indicate recurrent prostate cancer. To prescribe future treatment, a variety of different criteria and diagnostic tests are used.
Alternative PSA tests:
New forms of PSA tests are used to evaluate PSA levels in the blood with more precision before proposing biopsy and other diagnostic tests to confirm prostate cancer. These are frequently used as part of the diagnosis process, which includes measuring PSA levels in the blood to confirm prostate cancer. PSA percent-free test: This blood test requires the collection of two primary types of PSA in the blood. One is attached to blood proteins, while the other circulates freely throughout the body. This test determines the difference between total PSA and freely circulated PSA. Prostate cancer causes the body's free PSA levels to drop. Patients with a borderline PSA and a low percent-free PSA have a 50% increased risk of prostate cancer.
PSA velocity is the rate at which PSA levels vary over time. A constant increase of more than 0.75 ng/mL indicates an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Urine PCA3 test:
Urine PCA3 test: This test identifies the presence of a gene fusion in 50% of men with prostate cancer who have had their PSA levels checked. It is used to determine whether or not the patient warrants a biopsy.
PSA test for prostate cancer has some limitations:
- PSA screenings do not lessen the risk of cancer.
- PSA testing is unable to detect prostate cancer in its early stages.
- PSA testing has the potential to provide both false-positive and false-negative results.