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Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

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Reasons for Test

The PSA test is used to:
The PSA test may also be used as a screening tool for prostate cancer . However, this use is controversial. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the PSA test, and your personal risk factors for prostate cancer.
 

What to Expect

Prior to Test

Description of Test

You will be asked to sit. An area inside your elbow will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe. A large band will be tied around your arm. The needle will then be inserted into a vein. A tube will collect the blood from the needle. The band on your arm will be removed. Once all the blood is collected, the needle will be removed. Some gauze will be placed over the site to help stop bleeding. You may also be given a bandage to place over the site.

After Test

After the blood sample is collected, you may need to stay seated for 10-15 minutes. If you are lightheaded, you may need to stay seated longer. Once you feel better, you can leave.

How Long Will It Take?

The process takes about 5-10 minutes.

Will It Hurt?

It may be uncomfortable when the needle pierces your skin.

Results

The results are usually available in a few days to a week. Your doctor will talk to you about your results.
If your PSA level is slightly elevated, but there are no other reasons to suspect prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend closely following your PSA levels.
If your PSA level is too high, has risen significantly, or the doctor notices a lump during a digital rectal exam, you will probably need to schedule other tests, such as a prostate biopsy.

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

Urology Care Foundation
http://www.urologyhealth.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

Prostate Cancer Canada
http://www.prostatecancer.ca

References


Fang J, Metter EJ, et al. PSA velocity for assessing prostate cancer risk in men with PSA levels between 2.0 and 4.0 ng/mL. Urology. 2002;59:889-893.


How did the USPSTF arrive at this recommendation? US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening/prostatecancerfaq.htm. Published May 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.


Members of the Prostate-Specific Antigen Best Practice Statement Panel (2009). Prostate-Specific Antigen Best Practice Statement: 2009 Update. Available at: http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines/main-reports/psa09.pdf. Accessed April 17, 2013.


Prostate cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 15, 2013. Accessed April 17, 2013.


Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/PSA. Updated July 24, 2012. Accessed April 17, 2013.


Screening for prostate cancer: current recommendation. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm. Published May 2012. Accessed April 17, 2013.


Stephan C, Stroebel G, et al. The ratio of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to prostate volume (PSA density) as a parameter to improve the detection of prostate carcinoma in PSA values in the range of < 4 ng/mL. Cancer. 2005;104:993-1003.


5/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Schröder FH, Hugosson J, Roobol MJ, et al. Screening and prostate-cancer mortality in a randomized European study. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1320-1328.

 

Revision Information

Review Date: 03/2014
  • Update Date: 04/29/2014