Prostate-specific antigen is a type of protein produced by prostate cells into the bloodstream. Prostate-specific antigen test indicates the presence of prostate cancer, prostatitis or an enlarged prostate gland in men. This test helps in detecting prostate cancer in early stages and is less complicated to treat and cure. Prostate-specific antigen is usually done in addition to a digital rectal exam. This test may also be recommended to know the effectiveness of the treatment or to check the recurrence.
What is prostate gland?
The prostate gland is found in men, which produces fluid that forms part of semen that is expelled during ejaculation. The gland is wrapped around urethra at the bottom of the bladder. The healthy prostate gland is the size of a walnut. Cancer may attack the cells in the prostate gland and leads to prostate cancer. Most prostates cancers grow slowly and it takes a long time before the symptoms are exhibited. Fast-growing cancer is rare but may be serious and sometimes life-threatening. Age and family history are the other contributing factors. But the prostate antigen test alone can not differentiate the slow and fast-growing prostate cancer.
Why this test is performed?
Your doctor may recommend this test to you if you have symptoms like pain during urination or frequent urination, pelvic pain or back pain or had a history of prostate cancer or recently diagnosed or if you are on prostate cancer treatment to measure the effectiveness of the treatment, family history of prostate cancer (father or brother), considering your age because prostate cancer is most common in men above 50 years of age and also in African-American men.
Prostate-specific antigen test results may be altered by infections like urinary infection, prostate infection, recent tests on your bladder or prostate, larger prostate size, benign prostatic hyperplasia, recently placed catheter tube into bladder to drain urine, recent intercourse or ejaculation, riding a bicycle before test, ejaculation before test, obesity, warmer climate, certain medicines like atorvastatin, simvastatin, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, large doses of chemotherapy medications, etc. Hence inform your doctor or technician about all your current medications and medical conditions prior to the test.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your PSA. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for PSA.
You will need to abstain from ejaculation or sex or masturbation for 3 days or at least 24 hours before prostate-specific antigen test. Releasing semen may increase your test results.
If your prostate-specific antigen test results are higher than the normal it may indicate a condition called prostatitis which is an infection of the prostate gland that can be treated with antibiotics or it may indicate prostate cancer. Your doctor may decide the condition depending on your results or he/she may also recommend other tests like a rectal exam or a biopsy.
|MALE||< 40 years||< 2 ng/ml|
|MALE||All age groups||When the Total PSA is 4-10 ng/ml, a ratio of < 0.10 indicates a 49-65% risk of prostate cancer|