Who Should Have Regular Screening Tests For High Psa
The PSA test was first developed to observe prostate changes in men who had a history of prostate cancer. Then it became more widely used in the general population as a way to detect and prevent prostate cancer before symptoms developed. But routine screening can find prostate cancers that grow slowly and do not need treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if you should have regular PSA tests.
Using The Psa Blood Test After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Although the PSA test is used mainly to check for prostate cancer, it can also help your doctor:
- Choose a treatment. Along with an exam and tumor stage, the PSA test can help determine how advanced a prostate cancer is. This may affect treatment options.
- Check treatment success. After surgery or radiation, the doctor can watch your PSA level to see if the treatment worked. PSA levels normally fall if all of the cancer cells were removed or destroyed. A rising PSA level can mean that prostate cancer cells are present and your cancer has returned.
If you choose a watchful waiting approach to treatment, your PSA level can tell your doctor if the disease is progressing. If so, youâll need to think about active treatment.
During hormone therapy, the PSA level can show how well the treatment is working and when itâs time to try another treatment.
What Is It Used For
A PSA test is used to screen for prostate cancer. Screening is a test that looks for a disease, such as cancer, in its early stages, when it’s most treatable. Leading health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , disagree on recommendations for using the PSA test for cancer screening. Reasons for disagreement include:
- Most types of prostate cancer grow very slowly. It can take decades before any symptoms show up.
- Treatment of slow-growing prostate cancer is often unnecessary. Many men with the disease live long, healthy lives without ever knowing they had cancer.
- Treatment can cause major side effects, including erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
- Fast-growing prostate cancer is less common, but more serious and often life-threatening. Age, family history, and other factors can put you at higher risk. But the PSA test alone can’t tell the difference between slow- and fast-growing prostate cancer.
To find out if PSA testing is right for you, talk to your health care provider.
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Prostate Cancer Screening Ages 40 To 54
The PSA test is a blood test that measures how much of a particular protein is in your blood. Its been the standardfor prostate cancer screening for 30 years.
Your doctor will consider many factors before suggesting when to startprostate cancer screening. But hell probably start by recommending the PSAtest.
While the general guidelines recommend starting at age 55, you may need PSAscreening between the ages of 40 and 54 if you:
- Have at least one first-degree relative who has had prostate cancer
- Have at least two extended family members who have had prostate cancer
- Are African-American, an ethnicity that has a higher risk of developing more aggressive cancers
High Psa Levels From A Urinary Tract Infection
“Any infection near the prostate gland, including a urinary tract infection, can irritate and inflame prostate cells and cause PSA to go up,” says Milner.
If youve been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, be sure to wait until after the infection has cleared up before you get a PSA test. In men, most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria and respond well to antibiotics.
Having BPH increases your risk for a urinary tract infection.
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Can I Take The Test At Home
Although testing for PSA at home is uncommon, several at-home PSA tests are available. At-home PSA tests typically involve collecting samples of blood at home through a fingerstick and sending the samples into a laboratory for testing. When considering at-home PSA testing, its important to understand the potential harms of this test.
At-home testing may be less accurate than testing a sample taken from a vein. PSA testing can also show a higher result when cancer isnt present and can lead to additional diagnostic procedures. Because the role of PSA testing is highly individualized, its important to seek testing only under the care and guidance of a doctor.
Pros And Cons Of The Psa Test
- it may reassure you if the test result is normal
- it can find early signs of cancer, meaning you can get treated early
- PSA testing may reduce your risk of dying if you do have cancer
- it can miss cancer and provide false reassurance
- it may lead to unnecessary worry and medical tests when there’s no cancer
- it cannot tell the difference between slow-growing and fast-growing cancers
- it may make you worry by finding a slow-growing cancer that may never cause any problems
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Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer
Screening is testing to find cancer in people before they have symptoms. Its not clear, however, if the benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the risks for most men. Still, after discussing the pros and cons of screening with their doctors, some men might reasonably choose to be screened.
The screening tests discussed here are used to look for possible signs of prostate cancer. But these tests cant tell for sure if you have cancer. If the result of one of these tests is abnormal, you will probably need a prostate biopsy to know for sure if you have cancer.
Positive Psa Score Association With Other Conditions
The amount of PSA in your blood test may increase with other prostate conditions such prostatitis, enlarged prostate , or within two days after ejaculation.
Rest assured, even though your results may be high, it doesnt necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. Just a greater risk of developing it.
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What Is Digital Rectal Examination
Most prostate cancers are located in the peripheral zone of the prostate and may be detected by DRE. During this examination a doctor inserts a finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for lumps, size, shape, tenderness, and hardness. A suspect DRE is an absolute indication for prostate biopsy, regardless of the PSA level. In about 18% of patients with abnormal DRE, prostate cancer will be detected regardless of the PSA level.
Does My Psa Level Determine Whether I Have Prostate Cancer
Your provider looks at two factors related to your PSA:
- Your PSA level: A higher level means a higher risk of prostate cancer.
- A continuous rise: PSA levels that continue to rise after two or more tests may mean you have cancer.
But the PSA level alone doesnt determine if you have cancer or not. Two men can even have the same PSA levels but different risks of prostate cancer. And a high PSA level may reflect prostate problems that arent cancer.
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Other Uses For Prostate Specific Antigen Testing
Outside of prostate cancer screening, there are other uses for PSA testing. If you have had a biopsy that shows a slow growing prostate cancer, your doctor may advise watchful waiting. In this case, PSA testing may be done periodically to see if your cancer becomes more active. Any increase in PSA could be considered abnormal. If you have been treated for prostate cancer, periodic PSA testing may be done to see if there are any signs of cancer coming back. Any increase would be abnormal.
If you have symptoms of prostate cancer, PSA testing may be done to find out if you have prostate cancer. When you already have symptoms, PSA is no longer considered a screening test. It is a diagnostic test. Let your doctor know if you have any of these prostate cancer symptoms:
- Problems passing urine, like slow flow, increased frequency, or loss of control
- Blood in your semen or urine
- Trouble getting or keeping an erection
- Weakness or numbness in your legs or feet
- Bone pain in your hips, back, or ribs
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The Problem With Prostate Cancer Screening
The only way to diagnose prostate cancer is with a prostate biopsy. You would think it would be worthwhile to do PSA screening for all men and a prostate biopsy on every man with an abnormal PSA, but that is not the case. Prostate biopsy has risks. It can cause bleeding, pain, urinary retention, and a urinary tract or prostate infection. Since most men with a high PSA do not have prostate cancer, these risks are important to consider.
There is also a problem with prostate cancer itself. Even if a biopsy shows prostate cancer, many men with prostate cancer will never have any serious problems from their cancer. They will die from something else. For these men, the treatment can be worse than the disease. Treatment can cause serious urinary and sexual problems.
Because most men with a high PSA do not have prostate cancer and many men with prostate cancer do not need treatment, guidelines for PSA screening rely heavily on a discussion of the risks and benefits with your doctor.
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What Can Lower The Psa Test Results
Medications commonly taken to treat benign enlargement of the prostate such as finasteride , dutasteride , and a combination of dutasteride and tamsulosin can decrease the PSA by about 50% within six to 12 months of starting their use. Another medication used to treat fungal infections, ketoconazole, can also lower PSA levels. Lastly, herbal supplements such as saw palmetto and those containing phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived chemicals with estrogen-like effects, can also lower the PSA level. It is important to tell your health care provider all the medications, both prescription and nonprescription, as well as any herbal preparations or health supplements that you are taking.
What Does Psa Mean
PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is a protein produced by the prostate and found mostly in semen, with very small amounts released into the bloodstream. When theres a problem with the prostatesuch as the development and growth of prostate cancermore PSA is released. Sometimes, a mans prostate releases slightly high PSA for other reasons. Rising PSA eventually reaches a level where it can be easily detected by a blood test.
For more information on rising PSA, download or order your free copy of the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide.
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Psa Transition Zone Density
Kalish introduced PSA density of the transition zone as a refinement to the original PSAD. This refinement is predicated on the following 2 assumptions:
That measuring transition zone volume with TRUS is more accurate than measuring the entire prostate volume because of the difficulty in measuring the true border of the apex in the longitudinal view
That most of the PSA entering the circulation arises from the transition zone
Zisman et al have offered a new index using the peripheral zone fraction of PSA to predict the presence of prostate cancer in men with PSA levels of 4-10 ng/mL. They point out that the PZ contributes little to tPSA. The PZ fraction can be calculated by using the following formula:
tPSA Ã /total prostate volume
PZ volume is measured by subtracting TZ volume from total prostate volume while neglecting the central zone.
Zisman et al compared the positive and negative predictive values using tPSA, PSAD, PSA-TZ, and PSA peripheral zone density . The efficacy rates of PSA and PSA-TZ were similar, at 60% PSA-PZ had a 70% efficacy rate, PSAD an 80% rate. The negative predictive values were superior to the positive predictive values, ranging from 78% to 83% for PSA, from 78% to 88% for PSAD, from 87% to 92% for PSA-TZ, and from 81% to 100% for PSA-PZ.
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Medical Procedures Can Cause Psa To Rise
“Anything that traumatically interferes with the architecture around the prostate gland can make PSA go up,” says Dr. Milner. “One of the most common causes of significantly high PSA from this type of trauma is the placing of a catheter into the bladder.”
Another cause is a prostate or bladder exam that involves passing a scope or taking a biopsy.
“Since it takes about two to three days for PSA to go down by half, you should wait two to three weeks after this type of trauma to do a PSA test,” Milner says.
What Is Considered An Elevated Prostate
Researchers havent settled on a single normal PSA level. Previously, a level of 4.0 ng/mL or higher would lead to more testing, usually a prostate biopsy. During the biopsy, a healthcare provider removes a small sample of prostate tissue to check it for cancer.
However, healthcare providers now consider other issues together with the PSA level to decide whether to perform a biopsy. Your age, general health, family history and health history factor into the decision.
Is The Psa Test Recommended For Prostate Cancer Screening
Until about 2008, some doctors and professional organizations encouraged yearly PSA screening for men beginning at age 50. Some organizations recommended that men who are at higher risk of prostate cancer, including African-American men and men whose father or brother had prostate cancer, begin screening at age 40 or 45. However, as more was learned about both the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening, a number of organizations began to caution against routine population screening. Most organizations recommend that men who are considering PSA screening first discuss the risks and benefits with their doctors.
Currently, Medicare provides coverage for an annual PSA test for all Medicare-eligible men age 50 and older. Many private insurers cover PSA screening as well.
What Is The Controversy Surrounding Psa Screening
In recent years, there has been some controversy surrounding the PSA test. In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force assigned the PSA test a D rating. This meant that the USPSTF concluded the harms that resulted from PSA testing, such as unnecessary biopsies and negative treatment side effects, outweighed the benefits of finding and managing the disease early. This recommendation did not include exceptions for men at increased risk of developing the disease, such as African American men, those with a family history of the disease, and those with BRCA gene mutations. The USPSTF recommendation is important as it guides primary care physicians in preventive care and can impact insurance coverage and reimbursement for screening. Prior to its D rating, the PSA test had an I rating, meaning the USPSTF concluded there was insufficient evidence to assess the pros and cons of testing.
In May 2018, the USPSTF updated their recommendation on PSA screening. In response to new research demonstrating the benefits of PSA screening , an increase in the number of men choosing active surveillance, and advocacy efforts, the USPSTF released a draft recommendation in April 2017 that assigns the PSA test a C rating for men ages 55to 69 . This rating has now been certified official by the task force.
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What Are Some Of The Limitations And Potential Harms Of The Psa Test For Prostate Cancer Screening
Detecting prostate cancer early may not reduce the chance of dying from prostate cancer. When used in screening, the PSA test can help detect small tumors that do not cause symptoms. Finding a small tumor, however, may not necessarily reduce a mans chance of dying from prostate cancer. Many tumors found through PSA testing grow so slowly that they are unlikely to threaten a mans life. Detecting tumors that are not life-threatening
that requires treatment.
Psa In Other Biologic Fluids And Tissues
Concentration of PSA in human body fluids
|0.01 – 0.53
It is now clear that the term prostate-specific antigen is a misnomer: it is an antigen but is not specific to the prostate. Although present in large amounts in prostatic tissue and semen, it has been detected in other body fluids and tissues.
In women, PSA is found in female ejaculate at concentrations roughly equal to that found in male semen. Other than semen and female ejaculate, the greatest concentrations of PSA in biological fluids are detected in breast milk and amniotic fluid. Low concentrations of PSA have been identified in the urethral glands, endometrium, normal breast tissue and salivary gland tissue. PSA also is found in the serum of women with breast, lung, or uterine cancer and in some patients with renal cancer.
Tissue samples can be stained for the presence of PSA in order to determine the origin of malignant cells that have metastasized.
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The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found between the bladder and the rectum in males. Its primary job is to produce seminal fluid. The prostate creates a protein, the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA. A PSA screening test is a blood test approved by the FDA in 1994 to measure the levels of PSA in a mans blood.
Small amounts of PSA ordinarily circulate in the bloodstream and can be measured by a PSA test to monitor the health of the prostate. This test is intended to screen for prostate cancer, find other prostate-related conditions, or monitor PSA levels in those in treatment for prostate cancer. This is a simple blood test which reports PSA levels as nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood.