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What Everyone Should Know About Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Levels

Prostate cancer screening involves measuring the level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in the blood. Prostate-specific antigen is a proteinthat is made by the prostate. An elevated level of PSA signals the possibility of prostate cancer.

However, specialists have identified other reasons for a raised PSA level, besides prostates cancer. Therefore, men do not have to go for a biopsy if the level of their PSA is high. Prostate inflammation, infection, or enlarged prostate increases the level of PSA in blood as well. Also, exercises that involve a rise in perineal pressure increase the PSA level.

Time to Seek Treatment

Men should schedule a PSA testing appointment in their fifties. The PSA results act as a baseline. So, if at any time your PSA level increases more than the baseline, then the urologist should give you a personalized screening recommendation with accuracy. They consider your urinary symptoms and any other factor that could influence PSA levels before recommending a prostate cancer biopsy.

Men with a family history of prostate, ovarian, or breast cancer should go for PSA testing at age 45. Also, African American men should schedule early PSA testing because they have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

If the urologist suspects that you have prostate cancer, he recommends one or two of the following diagnostic options:

  1. MRI – The purpose of the test is to identify any lesions in the prostate. If there are lesions, patients go for biopsy, but if there are none, they do not have to schedule for biopsy.
  2. Biopsy – A specialist places a probe in the rectum and collects samples for examination under a microscope. Although biopsy is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose prostate cancer, patients may develop an infection or bleed after the procedure.
  3. High-resolution micro-ultrasound – It is a modern technology that combines the capabilities of biopsy and MRI. A urologist places a probe in the rectum and looks for lesions. If he finds lesions, he takes a targeted biopsy. Patients get same-day results.

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