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Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)

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 camera.gif. 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.

dplink.gif Prostate Cancer Screening: Should I Have a PSA Test?

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Prostate Cancer Screening: Should I Have a PSA Test?

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 spread.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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