- Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by the prostate gland.
- When there’s a problem with the prostate gland, it releases more PSA.
- High levels of PSA can be a sign of prostate cancer.
How common is prostate cancer in men with an elevated PSA level?
Men can have prostate cancer even if they have a normal PSA level. But cancer is more likely with an elevated PSA level. When PSA levels are:-
- Below 4: 15% chance of prostate cancer.
- Between 4 and 10 (the borderline range): 25% chance of prostate cancer.
- Above 10: More than 50% chance of having prostate cancer
What causes an elevated PSA level?
Prostate cancer is the main cause of an elevated PSA level. But PSA levels increase with age and can reflect different prostate conditions. Other factors that may raise a person’s PSA level include:-
- Prostate enlargement and inflammation (prostatitis).
- Urinary tract infection.
- Urinary catheter (tube) placement.
Will elevated PSA cause symptoms?
An elevated PSA level does not cause symptoms, but it may be a sign of prostate problems like cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, your provider may want to do a PSA test:-
- Difficulty urinating.
- Frequent urination, including during the night.
- Slow urine stream.
- Urinary incontinence (difficulty holding urine in).
- Healthcare providers use a blood test to measure PSA levels.
- You may have a digital rectal exam (DRE) together with a PSA test to check for signs of prostate cancer.
- Transrectal ultrasound and prostate biopsies.
- Prostate MRI.
- Iso PSA or 4Kscore (more blood tests).
How is prostate cancer treated?
Treatment options for prostate cancer include:-
- Surgery to remove the prostate (such as a robotic prostatectomy).
- Radiation therapy (external radiation therapy).
- Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy).
- High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).
- Cryotherapy (using extreme cold to freeze off cancerous tissue).
- Hormone treatment, also called androgen suppression therapy.