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About PSA Testing

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate gland. Prostate cancer can increase the levels of PSA in the blood and so a blood test can be used to identify raised levels and hence may be able to detect early stage prostate cancer.

The PSA test is not, however, 100% accurate and some men with low PSA levels can have prostate cancer and others with higher levels may not.

Additionally, the PSA test can pick up prostate cancer that is small and low risk that may not require radical treatment. On other occasions it may pick up prostate cancers at an early stage when they are curable which, had they not been detected, may have resulted in a poorer outcome.

ProstateHealth UK offers safe, accurate and affordable private prostate cancer screening with rapid results – find out more.

What happens if a PSA test does show a high reading?

Any PSA test that shows a high reading for your age group will require further investigation. You will be referred to a urologist for further tests that may include:

  • A digital rectal examination – due to the prostate being located close to the rectum (back passage) a doctor is able to feel for abnormalities by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum. This examination may feel a little uncomfortable but it is not painful.
  • A trans-rectal ultrasound scan – a small ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum to produce an image of the prostate gland. This examination can measure the size and density of the prostate.
  • A high quality (3 Tesla) multi-parametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI) - increasingly these scans are being used in the early detection and staging of prostate cancer. It involves going into a special magnetic tunnel and images are produced which can then identify areas suspicious for prostate cancer.
  • A biopsy – a biopsy is carried out by inserting a probe into the rectum and then a fine needle is passed through the wall of the rectum to take several (around 10-12) samples of tissue from the prostate. These samples are then examined for signs of cancer. If cancer is found further analysis will help to identify whether the cancer is likely to spread. A score, known as a Gleason score is given to the samples. The lower the score the less likely the cancer is to spread.
    A Gleason score of 6 or less means the cancer is less likely to spread
    A Gleason score of 7 indicates a moderate chance the cancer will spread
    A Gleason score of 8 or more means there is a significant chance the cancer will spread

Affordable prostate cancer screening
For men aged 40+

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Convenient at-home test
Simple finger-prick blood test
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Worried about prostate cancer? ProstateHealth UK offers safe, accurate and affordable private prostate cancer screening with rapid results – find out more or

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