Prostate Cancer: PSA Questions and Answers

Cancer is a scary thought for both men and women alike. One type of cancer to which men should pay particular attention is prostate cancer. PSA stands for a prostate-specific antigen, which is a protein that the cells of the prostate gland produce. A prostate cancer PSA exam has been thought to help screen a man for prostate cancer. But what exactly is the prostate cancer PSA exam, how is it administered and what do the results show? Read below for answers to these questions and more. The PSA test is not as scary as it may sound. In fact, a doctor can test a man’s PSA levels with a simple blood test and analysis. The results are reported in the following manner: 0 to 2.5 ng/ml is considered low, 2.6 to 10 is considered elevated slightly, 10 to 19.9 is considered elevated moderately, and 20 is considered strongly elevated. According to the National Cancer Institute, there is not a specific level that constitutes a normal PSA level, however, higher levels do raise read flags and may indicate a prostate problem.

Do I Have Prostate Cancer if PSA Levels are high?

Even if your PSA levels are high, this does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. While high levels of PSA may indicate prostate cancer, further tests are needed in order to determine whether or not cancer is necessarily present. The cause of the high PSA levels may be anything from inflammation to infection. However, if the doctor suspects cancer, a biopsy in which tissue is extracted and viewed under a microscope will be encouraged.

The Limitations of the Prostate Cancer PSA Test

Perhaps the greatest limitation of the PSA test in the screening of prostate cancer is that it is not the only test required to determine the presence of cancer. In addition, PSA screening can result in false positive and false negative results. Researchers are working to develop variations on the PSA tests and different methods to make the screening a more effective judgment of the presence of cancer.

These include PSA velocity, age-adjusted PSA tests, and PSA density. Researchers are also discovering the differences in free versus attached PSA, differences in patterns of protein, and learning more exact levels that may indicate prostate cancer. Regardless of the limitations, a PSA screening is a good place to start in the process of detecting prostate cancer.