The prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA test, is a crucial component in diagnosing prostate cancer. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, or if you’ve already had an abnormal PSA test, it’s time to visit the experts at Urology Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California. Their specially trained urologists can monitor your PSA levels and help you through prostate cancer treatment, if needed.
Ideally, your PSA level should be less than 2.5-3 ng/mL for the lowest possible risk of developing prostate cancer — 4 ng/mL is the highest it should be. Your age and current health can cause your PSA to fluctuate, though, making it higher and giving off a “false positive.” Because this number isn’t always reliable, the practitioners at Urology Associates Medical Group might use additional screening measures.
In general, you should start getting your PSA tests starting at age 50. In some cases though, you might need to get your first PSA test between the ages of 40-45. African American and caucasian men have the highest rates of getting prostate cancer, but a family history of the disease could put you in an even higher risk category. In these cases your doctor will want to do a PSA screening at an earlier age. Depending on your results this test will be repeated every 1-2 years.
No. The PSA test is a simple blood test, usually drawn from your arm. Once your blood is sent off to the lab for evaluation, you should get your results back within a few days.
Not necessarily. Since the test isn’t always reliable — even medications can throw it off — your doctor will likely need to conduct a thorough digital rectal exam to feel for any enlargement or abnormalities (which you should have yearly after the age of 50).
If there are any concerns, you might need to have an ultrasound to for imaging of your pelvic region. Any signs of lumps or other abnormalities will likely require a biopsy to get a conclusive answer.
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