The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a type of protein that is normally present in the prostate gland. The PSA test is performed to determine how much PSA you have in your blood.
Certain conditions can cause PSA blood levels to increase, such as:
- Infection in the prostate (prostatitis).
- Enlargement of the prostate (hypertrophy).
- Prostate cancer.
Because PSA levels increase greatly from prostate cancer, this test can be used to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer. It may also be used to monitor treatment for prostate cancer and to watch for a return of prostate cancer after treatment has finished.
This test has a very high false-positive rate. Therefore, routine PSA screening for all men is no longer recommended.
What Kind Of Sample Is Taken?
A blood sample is required for this test. It is usually collected by inserting a needle into a vein or by sticking a finger with a small needle.
There is no preparation required for this test. However, there are factors that can affect the results of a PSA test. Let your health care provider know if any of these factors apply to you. You may be asked to reschedule the test.
To get the most accurate results:
- Avoid having a rectal exam within several hours before having your blood drawn for this test.
- Avoid having any procedures performed on the prostate gland within 6 weeks of having this test.
- Avoid ejaculating within 24 hours of having this test.
- Tell your health care provider if you had a recent urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Tell your health care provider if you are taking medicines to assist with hair growth, such as Finasteride.
- Tell your health care provider if you have been exposed to a medicine called diethylstilbestrol.
What Are The Reference Ranges?
Reference ranges are established after testing a large group of people. Reference ranges may vary among different people, labs, and hospitals.
- Low: 0–2.5 ng/mL.
- Slightly to moderately elevated: 2.6–10.0 ng/mL.
- Moderately elevated: 10.0–19.9 ng/mL.
- Significantly elevated: 20 ng/mL or greater.
What Do The Results Mean?
PSA test results greater than 4 ng/mL are found in the majority of men with prostate cancer. If your test result is above this level, it may indicate an increased risk for prostate cancer. Increased PSA levels can also indicate other health conditions.
Talk with your health care provider to discuss your results, treatment options, and if necessary, the need for more tests.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.