What is My PSA?

The Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA test in used to help in the early detection of prostate cancer. As men age, the amount of PSA that leaks into the blood from the prostate gland can gradually increase. PSA levels can rise due to problems with the prostate including prostatitis (prostate infection), BPH (benign prostatic enlargement), or prostate cancer. A digital rectal exam or a prostate biopsy can also cause PSA levels to rise. If your PSA is increased, other tests may be necessary to help determine the cause of the increase in your PSA levels.

When should your PSA be evaluated? The current recommendations are:

  • If you are over 50.
  • If you are over 40 and African-American or have a family member with prostate cancer.
  • An abnormality is detected during your digital rectal exam.
  • You have symptoms of prostate problems like frequent urination, urgent urination, blood in your urine, you have to strain to urinate, or pain.

What does a prostate exam involve?

A basic prostate exam involves a DRE or digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test. The digital rectal exam takes less than 10 seconds and involves the inserting of a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities in the surface of the prostate. The blood test is drawn and evaluated in our office. The results of the PSA blood test will be available in one week. Please have your blood drawn one week prior to your office visit so we can discuss your results with you.