One of the routine aspects of a general health exam for men of a certain age is the PSA blood test. This screening assesses a man’s immediate risk for prostate cancer by measuring the amount of prostate-specific antigen that is in the blood. Hearing that PSA is high can feel alarming. However, it is important to know that prostate-specific antigen is produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous tissue in the prostate gland. Therefore, an elevated number may mean something other than cancer.
Some of the reasons that PSA may increase include:
- Inflamed prostate gland. Prostatitis could indicate that there is an infection in the prostate.
- Urinary tract infection. Infection somewhere within the urinary tract, similar to a prostate infection, can elevate numbers. Infections like this can be treated with a course of antibiotics.
- Exercise. What? This may sound counterproductive when we are told that exercise is good for our health. It isn’t that exercise is adversely affecting the prostate, it is that PSA levels naturally increase with exercise. For an accurate reading, postpone that workout until after your PSA test.
- Sometimes, age is the only reason why PSA count rises. The reason, in many cases, is because the prostate gland has become enlarged. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is common in older men and is not an indication of prostate cancer.
While the PSA is an important part of age-related health screenings for men, this is not the end-all-be-all in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. If the elevated count is observed, additional information will need to be obtained via a prostate biopsy. Biopsies are performed with the local anesthetic to make the process as comfortable as possible. Most men describe only slight and momentary discomfort during this test.
The idea of having a PSA screening should not create unnecessary stress for any man. It is important to us that our patients feel comfortable about their routine checkups and screenings. Comfort is hard to come by when you don’t know what to expect and don’t quite understand what could be happening in your body. We are here to help you. If you have questions about a recent high PSA or need to schedule a urological exam, call our Plano office at (972) 403-5425.This entry was posted in Prostate Cancer. Bookmark the permalink.
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