Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made by prostate cells that helps keep semen liquified so sperm can swim. Both noncancerous and cancerous prostate cells make PSA, but cancerous cells tend to produce more, and some excrete into the bloodstream. As a result, men with prostate cancer usually have high PSA levels, which the PSA blood test measures and screens.
High levels of PSA do not always mean cancer, and normal PSA levels do not guarantee cancer is not present. High levels of PSA may also result from an enlarged prostate (BPH) or prostatitis (prostate infection). However, combined with the digital rectal exam, a PSA screening remains the best way to detect prostate cancer.
After prostate cancer is detected, PSA testing also can help determine the best treatments and prognosis.
PSA screening has been somewhat controversial in the news and among other specialty groups over the last several years. The Urology Group, along with most other specialists in the field of urology feel that PSA screening is still very important and agree with a “shared decision making” discussion.
Elevated PSA can indicate a number of conditions. Click each to learn more: