The Male Prostate-Specific-Antigen-Test...
Article Written By Doctor David Dangerfield
The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test is used to measure the level of prostate-specific-antigen in a man's blood. Prostate-specific-antigen is released into the blood through the prostate gland. Men that are healthy have low levels of PSA present in their blood.
The levels of PSA inside the blood typically increase as the prostate starts to increase in size with age. Prostate-specific-antigen can increase due to prostatitis which is when the prostate gland becomes inflamed or from prostate cancer.
Digital rectal examinations, an injury or ejaculation can also raise PSA levels briefly.
Why Is A PSA Test Done?
Preparing For A PSA Test
Before the PSA test it is advisable to let your physician know when you have had any of the following:
24 hours prior to your test you need to avoid ejaculating. You should also talk to your physician about any concerns about why you feel the need for this test as well as how the test will be conducted and if there are any risks involved.
1. How is This Test Done?
A health professional will take a sample of blood from your arm. This sample is taken directly from a vein inside your arm.
2. Results Of the Test
The PSA test is used to measure the levels of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. The normal values will vary in range from one lab to the next and often have different ranges on what is considered to be normal.
The lab report that you receive should state the range that the lab uses. Due to the fact that PSA levels usually increase as a man gets older, an age-specific range is often used. However, the age-specific ranges have been regarded as controversial, with some doctors that prefer to use a single range regardless of age.
A high level of PSA is not always an indication of prostate cancer. PSA amounts are often higher when the prostate becomes enlarged due to BPH or prostatitis. When high levels are detected follow-up tests are usually conducted to measure for free PSA to find out whether a prostate biopsy is necessary to detect cancer. The free PSA is a percentage of the PSA which is not linked or attached to the proteins present in the blood. The lower the free PSA percentage, the more likely that prostate cancer is present.
What Can Affect The Test
Reasons when you are unable to have a PSA test done or reasons as to why the results may be inaccurate will include some of the following:
In combination with the digital rectal examination, the PSA test is able to improve the likelihood of detecting prostate cancer. In addition, PSA levels that result in a normal range is not always a guarantee that there is no cancer present in the prostate gland. In some men, prostate cancer is present even when the PSA levels are normal.
Experts sometimes disagree about the testing type that is regarded as appropriate when a PSA level happens to be high. Today, there are other tests under evaluation to decide their effectiveness on telling the differences between benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.
One of these tests is the PSAD (prostate-specific antigen density) test that compares the PSA value in comparison to the prostate gland size. Prostate gland size is usually measured using a TRUS (transrectal ultrasound)
How Accurate Is This Test?
A limitation present in the PSA test is the fact that PSA is not limited to the presence of prostate cancer and is affected by a number of other common conditions.
the Cancer Institute also has information on this matter which you can find here.
You can also check out webbed for more info on the PSA test by going here
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