What is a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test?

PSA - prostate-specific antigen – is a protein produced mainly by cells in the prostate.  It can be a useful indicator or prostate cancer. PSA is found in low amounts in all males. The PSA test is for men only.  It measures the levels of PSA in the blood. Should this test be positive, we can guide men (Stockholm only) to further testing in the public sector. 

It is very important that anyone considering taking this test reads Socialstyrelsens riktlinjer first.

Why test PSA?

Screening 50+
This test is often used as a screening tool for prostate cancer in men over 50 years old.

Health history
You have an increased risk of prostate cancer due to family or personal history.

Monitor a low value or track it over time as you make lifestyle changes or undergo treatments.

What causes low PSA?
A lower PSA can be a sign that you are at higher risk of prostate cancer, and you need to contact your doctor for a thorough check-up. According to the American Cancer Society, many doctors recommend a prostate biopsy for men whose percent-free PSA is 10% or less and advise men to consider a biopsy if it is between 10% to 25%. Nowadays there are advanced blood tests that can be used as a follow-up test in place of biopsy, if you are in Stockholm, our nutritionists can help you to find a clinic that can undertake this test for free.

Long-term use of certain medications that contain Dutasteride and Finasteride (e.g. Propecia, Proscar, Avodart) can cause PSA values to drop by up to 50%. If you take such medications, write this in your notes or let us know.

What causes high PSA?
Hig PSA (greater than 3 ug/L) means that total PSA is higher than expected in the blood. There are several possible reasons for an elevated PSA level, including inflammation (prostatitis) and prostate cancer.

There are several possible reasons for an elevated PSA level, including inflammation (prostatitis) and prostate cancer.  Older men and African American men tend to have higher PSA levels. A high serum PSA result does not alone automatically result in further interventions. Many other factors must be considered, including prostate size, age, family history, digital rectal examination findings, body weight, and health history.  A PSA test cannot diagnose prostate cancer.  

If you are having a digital rectal exam, this test should be done first.  It should also be done before, or several weeks after a prostate biopsy as both can increase PSA levels.

The day before the test
Do not ejaculate for 24 hours before taking the test.

On the day of the test
Remember to take your ID with you when going to take a test.  Arrive early and sit down quietly for 15 minutes before the test is taken.

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