PSA

The PSA test is a blood test used to detect prostate cancer. Doctors suspect prostate cancer if the blood contains high levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen. For men who want to be screened for prostate cancer, the test is usually done every year beginning between ages 40 and 50, depending on individual risk factors.

PSA testing to screen for prostate cancer might seem like a no-brainer. However, the test has become controversial. If a man’s PSA is elevated, he’ll likely undergo a biopsy and, if cancer is diagnosed, invasive treatment. But because most prostate cancers grow slowly, they aren’t likely to affect the man during his lifetime. In addition, experts no longer recommend routine PSA screening for men ages 75 and older because they are more likely to die from another condition than from undetected prostate cancer.

Related Articles

Study: Men with BRCA gene variant should have PSA tests

A study published in the journal European Urology suggests that men who have defects in a cancer-suppressing gene known as BRCA are at high risk for aggressive prostate tumors, and so could benefit from PSA testing.

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Delaying treatment for PSA-only relapse poses won’t hurt survival in some men

Men who experience a spike in PSA but who have no symptoms after surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer can wait for up to two years before starting hormone therapy, according to a new study.

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What is a PSA test?

Doctors use this test to screen for prostate cancer, but it does not provide a definitive diagnosis.

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Video: Are PSA tests beneficial?

Two international and large randomized studies provide the most convincing evidence thus far that PSA based testing does nothing or meaningfully little to reduce the death rate from prostate cancer and confirm many earlier studies that came to the same conclusions. In this video, Marc Garnick, MD, discusses the implications.

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Is PSA reliable?

That’s a good question, because having an elevated PSA doesn’t necessarily mean that a man has prostate cancer.

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Statins, aspirin may hide prostate cancer

Research suggests that these drugs could potentially mask changes in a man’s PSA and interfere with the detection of prostate cancer.

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Statins show no effect on PSA levels

Ever since the FDA approved the first cholesterol-lowering statin in 1987, use of the drugs has steadily increased, with an estimated 13 million Americans taking them to ward off heart and vascular disease. Recently, statins have gained additional attention, thanks to studies showing the drugs might have anticancer properties. But researchers have inconsistent answers to […]

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PSA screening for prostate cancer

Two studies come to different conclusions about the benefits, leaving patients and their doctors to decide what makes sense.

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PSA — Old controversies, new results

Many experts believe prostate cancer is the exception to the rule when it comes to screening. In fact, PSA screening may actually do more harm than good. Two studies, one conducted in the U.S. and the other in Europe, were hopefully going to settle the debate over the value of the PSA. While they gave us some answers, we are still a long way from settling the debate.

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Moving beyond PSA

Genetic biomarkers may help doctors decide whether to perform a biopsy, determine the best treatment, and develop new targeted therapies for prostate cancer.

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