Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the amount of Reference prostate-specific antigen Opens New Window in the blood. PSA is released into a man's blood by his Reference prostate gland Opens New Window. Healthy men have low amounts of PSA in the blood. The amount of PSA in the blood normally increases as a man's Reference prostate Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window enlarges with age. PSA may increase because of inflammation of the prostate gland (Reference prostatitis Opens New Window) or Reference prostate cancer Opens New Window. An injury, a digital rectal exam, or sexual activity (ejaculation) may also briefly raise PSA levels.
Prostate cancer often grows very slowly, without causing major problems. Finding prostate cancer early and treating it may prevent some health problems and reduce the risk of dying from the cancer. But some treatments for prostate cancer can cause other problems, such as being unable to control urination (Reference incontinence Opens New Window) or erection problems (Reference erectile dysfunction Opens New Window). Some men may choose not to have a PSA test or treat prostate cancer if it is found. For example, a man older than age 75 who has no bothersome symptoms of prostate cancer may choose not to treat the cancer if it is found, so he would not need a PSA test.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology