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PSA Test (Prostate-Specific Antigen Test)

Since prostate cancer grows gradually, its early symptoms tend to be negligible and misleading which makes precise detection of prostate cancer is very difficult in its early stages. However in case of detection, several tests can be conducted in order to confirm the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate glands. Among diagnostic procedure that can be done to diagnose prostate cancer include PSA Test (Prostate-Specific Antigen Test). It is important, however, to know that PSA test results cannot confirm prostate cancer; further exams such as prostate biopsies are required to diagnose this cancer. 

What Is PSA Test? 

PSA test is one of the major tests conducted in order to detect Prostate problems. It stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is conducted to find out the prostate specific antigen present in the blood. The PSA is normally generated by the prostate glands and its counts remain low in normal condition or healthy men. However, the PSA may increase as the prostate gland enlarges. So, higher PSA counts may indicate the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate glands. 

The PSA test is usually done on men above the age of 50 who are at higher risks of Prostate cancer. Though PSA tests alone cannot detect the prostate cancer, it gives the health care provider an idea of the prostate condition. During the cancer treatment, if the PSA levels increases then it’s an indication that the cancer cells are also growing. This test also strongly indicates towards prostate removal. After removal, this test needs to be done at regular intervals as a part of the follow up process. If the PSA levels again increase it implies towards malignancy of the prostate cells and tissues.  

How Is The Test Done? 

If a man above the age of 40 complains of back pain, pain in the pelvic areas, frequent urination, and difficulty in urination the doctors may recommend him a PSA test to diagnose the actual problem. The test is conducted on a blood sample that is taken from the arm. The normal range of PSA is considered to be 4.0ng/ml. To be more precise, this level could be reduced to 2.5ng/ml in case of prostate cancer. If the test of a person reveals a PSA of above 10.0ng/ml then it indicates towards higher risk of prostate cancer. If readings are anywhere between 4.0ng/ml to 10.0ng/ml, they may indicate prostate cancer, prostatitis or even BPH. The study of this test results, along with other diagnostic procedures such as digital rectal examination (DRE) and urinalysis, reveals a clear picture about the condition of the patient making diagnosis easier for the doctors. 

PSA Levels during Post Treatment Monitoring 

PSA levels should be monitored regularly even after the cancer has been removed. After successful surgical therapies PSA levels become almost undetectable within few weeks. If PSA levels are showing consequent rise, recurrence of prostate cancer might be the case.  

If recurrence of prostate cancer is perceived through rising PSA levels after medicinal treatment, it is called ‘biochemical recurrence’. This recurrence could be due to several factors, like grade of prostate malignancy, level of PSA before treatment, and the enormity of disease.