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Y. Mark Hong, MD

About Elevated Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) and Prostate Cancer

By markhongmd on November 12, 2013

Prostate Cancer Detection - PSA Level TestingAs men get older, they need to take the health of their prostate seriously. Prostate cancer is a real danger for men as they get older, so it pays to be mindful of overall health. Basic prevention involves a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Screening and testing for prostate cancer is also important. One way that this is done is through PSA testing.

When you meet with a urologist, you can learn more about prostate issues and what PSA levels could mean for your overall wellness. Right now, we'd like to cover some of the basics so you understand what PSA testing involves and why it's sometimes an important part of the cancer screening process.

About the Prostate and Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland located between the penis and the bladder and just in front of the rectum. It is roughly the size of a walnut. The function of the prostate is to secrete a fluid that protects and nourishes the sperm as it passes through the urethra.

Apart from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer that occurs in men. Various therapies can be used to treat prostate cancer (e.g., chemo, radiation) though the best options for care are prevention and early detection.

What is PSA?

PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. PSA is a protein that is produced inside of the prostate gland and can be found in the semen. Trace amounts of PSA are also found in the blood. Elevated levels of PSA in the blood may indicate potential problems with the prostate.

Health Problems Associated with Elevated PSA

When checking PSA levels in the blood, a urology expert will be also sure to check patients for the following prostate problems:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Inflamed prostate/Prostatitis

The treatment that you undergo will be determined by the prostate problem you suffer from as well as your overall medical history.

What to Expect During the PSA Testing Process

The PSA test is relatively simple. Blood will be drawn from a patient and then analyzed in the lab. Lab technicians will note the concentrations of the PSA protein in the patient's blood.

Is PSA testing accurate?

PSA testing is helpful for prostate cancer screenings, though it is not the only kind of test that should be relied on. Elevated PSA in the blood is not necessarily the sign of prostate cancer or another prostate problem. Similarly, low PSA levels do not necessarily mean that a patient does not suffer from prostate cancer or is not developing prostate cancer. We need to go by a number of measures in order to make a proper assessment and allow for proper care

Symptoms of Potential Prostate Problems

Be sure to speak to your general physician or a urologist about any issues you experience with urination, ejaculation, or pain. Be mindful of the following symptoms often associated with prostate cancer:

  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in semen
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Problems with urine stream
  • Pain in the thighs, lower back, hips, and pelvis

Learn More About Advanced Prostate Health

If you would like to learn more about treating prostate problems and other important issues for advanced health and wellness, be sure to contact our Phoenix and Scottsdale urology centers today. Our team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve optimal health through expert care.

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