The PSA test is a type of blood test that detects early signs of abnormal enlargement of the prostate gland. This is the most common method of early detection of prostate cancer in men. In this article we are going to discuss normal PSA levels by age and when should i have a PSA test.
In this test, your doctor measures the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
PSA is a type of protein actually made by the prostate gland. Some amount of this protein is found in the blood. This amount depends on the age and health of the man. So, PSA test depends on the PSA levels by age.
As PSA levels rise
The amount of PSA in the blood is measured in a nanogram. Each milliliter of blood contains nanograms of PSA. Its levels can range from less than 1 ng/ml (1ng/ml) and up to hundreds of ng/ml.
If you are between 50 and 69 years old and your PSA level is 3 ng/ml (ng/ml) or higher, your PSA level is high.
This increased PSA level in the blood can be a symptom of prostate cancer. However, many other conditions such as an abnormally enlarged prostate, prostatitis or urinary tract infection can also be the cause.
There are some issues at home and abroad regarding the accuracy of this test and its potentially harmful consequences.
Normal PSA Levels by Age
Men above the age of 50 can inquire about this test on their own as well as check with their doctor about tests under any government scheme (such as prostate cancer risk management).
As part of the plan, your doctor will explain to you all the advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with this test in detail, so that you can decide whether you want to have this test or not.
Your doctor may give you a small booklet containing all the necessary information about the PSA test for prostate cancer. You will find the same information in more detail in this booklet.
Men whose family has had this disease in the past are at an increased risk of prostate cancer. Being of black ethnic origin or being overweight can also be a reason.
If any question related to prostate cancer is bothering you, you can talk to your doctor.
Benefits of the PSA Test
- If the results are normal then it clears the great doubts of the mind.
- It gives you an idea of cancer symptoms even before they appear
- Due to the early detection of cancer, the condition can be prevented from getting worse with the right treatment.
- This test can reduce prostate cancer mortality by 21%
- If treatment is successful, the risk of developing serious cancer can be reduced.
- Life expectancy can be extended in case of severe cancer
- Doesn’t always get the right results
- Unnecessary worry and medical tests can be bothersome if there is no cancer
- It can’t tell the difference between slow growing and fast growing cancers
- Concern is heightened when a slowly growing cancer is detected, while it is likely that it may never be a symptom or cause of shortening of a man’s lifespan.
- To save one man’s life with prostate cancer, at least 27 men would have to be tested for it.
Also read — What causes prostate cancer, is it kill you?
Things to note before the test
If you are going to take the PSA test, then you need to keep the following things in mind:
- you do not have a urinary tract infection (UTI)
- no ejaculation in the last 48 hours
- Have not exercised heavily in the last 48 hours
- Have not had a prostate biopsy in the last 6 weeks
If any of these occur during the test, the result is not correct.
What happens after the test?
There are usually three options after the PSA test:
- Normal PSA Levels – If your PSA level is not elevated then you are not likely to have cancer, there is no immediate need to do anything. You can do this test again in future. However, it is not necessary that every time cancer is detected in this test.
- Moderately elevated PSA levels – 3 out of 4 men who have elevated PSA levels do not develop prostate cancer but may need to have more tests in the future.
- Elevated PSA Levels- An increased PSA level of 1 in 4 men can lead to prostate cancer. The higher the level, the higher the chances of getting cancer. If your PSA level is very high, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for further tests.
On the basis of this test alone, it cannot be said whether you have cancer or not. For further tests, doctors use a digital rectal examination (DRE), a test for the prostate gland, in which the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the anus.
In this test, an attempt is made to identify the symptoms of prostate cancer. For example, hardening of the prostate gland, although even if it looks normal, does not necessarily mean that you do not have cancer.
Many early-stage cancers are not detectable by DRE. It cannot be used in place of the PSA test.
The doctor also takes into account your age, family history, ethnic background of the man, and past PSA test results.
In some cases, doing a PSA test again can make the situation more understandable.
Key facts about PSA
- Sometimes the level is not raised and wrong result can give false comfort. Prostate cancer is found in about 15 percent of cases in men with normal PSA levels.
- Despite increased PSA levels, 3 out of 4 men did not get cancer.
- 1 in 4 will develop cancer due to elevated PSA levels.
- Biopsy does not detect cancer of one in five men.
Biopsy and further tests
If your PSA level is elevated, then through a biopsy, a sample of prostate tissue is taken to check whether you have cancer or not.
Prostate biopsies may not detect some cases of cancer. In one in five cases, cancer cannot be detected even after the results are available. Sometimes a biopsy has to be done again.
Sometimes some side effects are also seen in the biopsy, such as bleeding or infection. Many men have trouble with blood in urine and semen. Antibiotics are given for its prevention.
Prostate cancer treatment
Actually, prostate cancer treatment and PSA levels depend on your age. If cancer is detected at an early stage, its treatment depends on individual circumstances. There are other factors such as the size, type of cancer and general health, which are taken into consideration to ensure proper treatment.
Various treatments, such as surgery and radiotherapy, also cause side effects, including erections, male infertility, and bladder problems.
Before starting any treatment with your doctor, you should know about its benefits and risks in detail.
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