Cancun Oncology Center at Hospital GaleniaCancun Oncology Center at Hospital Galenia

by Desarrollo 4

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate and found in the blood. A PSA blood test can detect prostate cancer early, but it may not save lives. Many prostate cancers grow slowly, so a PSA test may save the lives of some men while causing others to have unnecessary surgeries or radiation treatments, which could cause lifelong problems such as erectile dysfunction or incontinence.

Here’s what you need to know about PSA tests before having one.

Low PSA is good

Low PSA—usually about 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less—suggests that a man does not have prostate cancer. But higher levels—taking into account age and race—may indicate the presence of cancer.

But so many factors influence PSA that a single test is never enough to diagnose prostate cancer. If you do have high levels of PSA, your doctor may suggest a prostate biopsy or another test to determine if you have cancer.

False positives are possible

Swelling of the prostate gland, infection, and recent ejaculation, among other things, can elevate PSA levels. These factors, however, have nothing to do with prostate cancer. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate, which is one of the most common conditions that affect men as they age, also can raise PSA

If your PSA is elevated, your doctor may first address other issues, such as treating an infection and then test you again to see if the levels go down.

Other risk factors are important

If your PSA is high, your doctor will look at other risk factors to decide if you need additional testing. These risk factors include race, age, and family medical history.

If, however, your prostate-cancer risk is low—if for example, you have no risk factors and a digital rectal exam reveals no abnormal feeling areas in your prostate—your doctor may decide to forego a biopsy and instead do another PSA test a few months or so down the road.

Test or not? It’s your decision

The decision to get screened is yours.

If you’re not anxious about prostate cancer but you are concerned about the side effects of testing and treatment, for example, it may make sense for you to skip screening. On the other hand, if you know all these side effects and are concerned about prostate cancer risk, you should get screened.

During a regular consultation, doctors may only be able to give you the most basic information on the PSA test or other tests. For more guidance, you can schedule an appointment at Cancun Oncology Center with one of our specialist. We help you figure out whether and how you should get tested and treated for prostate cancer based on your own concerns.

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