If your symptoms suggest a prostate problem, the first screening test you may need is a PSA blood level test. The doctors at Choice Cancer Care often order a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer, but this test’s role in men’s health remains a topic of debate. It’s important to know about PSA blood level testing and your risk for prostate cancer so you can make the best decisions for your health. To schedule a consultation, call one of the offices in Plano, Lewisville, Irving, or Southlake, Texas, or book an appointment online today.
Your prostate gland produces a protein called prostate-specific antigen or PSA. Most PSA goes into semen, but a small amount typically ends up in your bloodstream.
More PSA gets into your bloodstream when you have prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), inflammation (prostatitis), and prostate cancer.
Doctors often screen for prostate cancer with a blood test to determine your PSA levels. The higher your levels, the more likely that you have cancer.
The prostate gland surrounds your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder and through your penis during urination.
When an enlarged prostate or a cancerous tumor gets large enough to press against the urethra, you experience symptoms such as:
Cancer that spreads beyond the prostate can also cause leg swelling, a change in bowel habits, and pain in your lower back or hips.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men with an average risk for prostate cancer talk with their doctors about screening when you reach 50 years old. If you have a high risk, you should have that conversation at 45.
These guidelines, however, aren’t set in stone. Other reputable health organizations and individual doctors recommend different ages.
Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and the age at which you should consider prostate cancer screening.
Everyone agrees that prostate cancer screening should include a PSA blood level test. They also agree that you should be aware of the potential benefits and harms before getting a PSA test.
PSA screening offers the benefit of finding prostate cancer at an earlier stage. The possibility of getting false results represents the most significant harm.
You could receive a positive PSA test result even when you don’t have cancer (a false-positive). The test can also produce normal results even when you have prostate cancer (a false-negative).
False-positive tests cause unnecessary anxiety and biopsies, and false negatives make you believe you’re healthy even though you have cancer.
To learn more about PSA blood levels, call Choice Cancer Care, or schedule an appointment online today.