A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the amount of
prostate-specific antigen in the blood. PSA is
released into a man's blood by his
prostate gland. Healthy men have low amounts of PSA in
the blood. The amount of PSA in the blood normally increases as a man's
prostate enlarges with age. PSA may increase because
of inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) or
prostate cancer. An injury, a digital rectal exam, or
sexual activity (ejaculation) may also briefly raise PSA levels.
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Why It Is Done
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
is done to:
Screen men for prostate cancer. Since other common medical
conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis, can cause high PSA levels, a prostate
biopsy may be done if your doctor is concerned about signs of prostate cancer.
Check if cancer may be present when results from other
tests, such as a
digital rectal exam, are not normal. A PSA test does
not diagnose cancer, but it can be used along with other tests to determine if
cancer is present.
Watch prostate cancer during active surveillance or other treatment. If PSA levels increase, the cancer may be growing or spreading. PSA is
usually not present in a man who has had his prostate gland removed. A PSA
level that rises after prostate removal may mean the cancer has returned or has