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Prostate Specific Antigen
A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test
is a blood test used to screen men for prostate cancer. A PSA test is also used to monitor how well prostate cancer treatment is working.
Other test that may be done with a PSA test:
A digital rectal exam is usually performed with a PSA test. Your healthcare provider will insert a gloved finger into your rectum to feel if your prostate is large, firm, or has lumps.
Who may need a PSA test:
Some experts recommend a PSA test for men ages 50 to 70. They also recommend testing men with a high risk for prostate cancer at age 40 or 45. Risk factors may include being African American or having a brother or father with prostate cancer. Other experts may not recommend PSA testing. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need a PSA test.
What the results of a PSA test mean:
Most healthy men have a PSA level less than 4 ng/mL. If your PSA level is higher than 4 ng/mL you may need more tests. Examples include blood or urine tests, an ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, or a prostate biopsy. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on these tests.
Other causes of a high PSA level:
A high PSA level does not always mean you have prostate cancer. Certain conditions or procedures can increase PSA levels. Examples include:
- Older age
- Procedures such as a prostate biopsy or a cystoscopy
- An enlarged prostate
- Recent sexual activity
- A prostate infection
- Certain exercises that put pressure on the prostate such as bicycling
- Medicine such as testosterone
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