What is a PSA test?
This test measures the level of PSA (a protein produced by the prostate gland) in blood. If a man has a higher PSA level, there is increased likelihood of him having prostate cancer.
However, there are several other reasons for having an increased PSA level. Some men, who actually have prostate cancer, may not have an elevated PSA.
Why it is done?
The PSA test is widely done to screen men for prostate cancer. Apart from this, it is also used to monitor men who have been already diagnosed with prostate cancer to
- Decide if and when to begin the treatment
- Evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment
- Check if there is a recurrence of cancer
How it is done?
This is done by taking a blood sample from one of the veins of body. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Other conditions raising PSA
Apart from prostate cancer, there could be other medical conditions which are responsible for increasing the normal levels of PSA in blood; hence the test result with increased PSA is not always due to a cancerous condition.
- An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH)
- An inflamed or infected prostate (prostatitis)
- Levels normally increase with age
When it should be done?
Yearly PSA screening should begin for men from the age of 50 onwards.