Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is important because it helps in early detection of prostate cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It is a small gland that surrounds the urethra, which carries urine out of the bladder. The seminal vesicles produce a fluid that contains sperm, which mixes with other fluids to form semen. Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the prostate.
The prostate normally grows during puberty and continues to grow throughout a man’s lifetime. As a man ages, it can become larger, which increases risk of prostate cancer. However, many men who have a large prostate never develop the disease.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the sixth most common cancer overall in the United States. It’s also one of the most treatable cancers, with more than 95% of men surviving for at least five years after their diagnosis.
The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States is 13%, and the lifetime risk of dying from the disease is 2.5%. The average age of death from prostate cancer is 80 years old. Because many men experience no symptoms of prostate cancer and may not know that they have the disease until it has progressed significantly. African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer have a higher risk than other groups do of developing and dying from prostate cancer.
What is Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test?
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by prostate cells. PSA is found in the blood and increases with age. It is often elevated in men with prostate cancer, but can also be elevated by noncancerous conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, infection, or inflammation of the prostate. The results are usually reported in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood.
It is the first step in detecting prostate cancer. The test measures the amount of PSA in your blood and helps us determine if you have any problems with your prostate gland.
The PSA test is commonly used to indicate the presence of prostate cancer in men. The test was originally approved in 1986 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to monitor the progression of prostate cancer in men who had already been diagnosed with the disease. Until about 2008, many doctors and professional organizations had recommended yearly screening with the PSA test for prostate cancer in men aged 50 and older.
Is the PSA test recommended for routine prostate cancer screening?
The United States Preventive Services Task Force revised its recommendation statement on prostate cancer screening in 2018, changing its recommendation from “D” (against PSA-based screening) to a “C” (selectively offering PSA-based screening based on professional judgment and patient preferences in men ages 55 to 69). The updated recommendation applies to people in general as well as those who are at higher risk because of race or ethnicity or a family history of the disease.
For men ages 55 to 69, the decision to undergo periodic prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer should be an individual one. Before making the decision, discuss the potential benefits and harms of screening with your clinician and consider these in light of your own values and preferences.
What is the normal level of PSA test result?
There is no clear cutoff for a normal or abnormal PSA level in the blood. In the past, PSA levels of 4.0 ng/mL and lower were considered normal. However, recent studies suggest that many men with PSA levels below 4.0 ng/mL have prostate cancer and others with higher PSA levels between 4 and 10ng/mL do not have prostate cancer.
What are the benefits of PSA test?
Researchers have found that 1.3 prostate cancer deaths are prevented per 1,000 men screened. One in every 1,000 men who undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening will avoid death from prostate cancer. Additionally, more men are opting for active surveillance instead of treatment.