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The PSA test – information and advice

What is a PSA Test?

The PSA test is a simple blood test that we conduct at our ProstateCheck clinics. PSA (Prostate specific antigen) is produced by the prostate gland and will be present in your blood at differing levels according to the health of your prostate and your age.

PSA Blood Test Aims

The aim of the PSA blood test is to find out whether your PSA level is above what would be considered normal. A raised PSA level may indicate you have prostate cancer BUT it can also be raised if you are suffering from other non-cancerous conditions such as prostatitis (an infection of the prostate), enlarged prostate (sometimes referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH and a normal part of ageing) or even a urinary infection.

The unique role of ProstateCheck in the early detection of prostate cancer

Recent randomized trial studies have shown that the use of PSA in the early detection of prostate cancer can reduce deaths from prostate cancer.

However, it is associated with a considerable increase in the number of very low risk prostate cancers detected and the subsequent increase in risk of patients receiving unnecessary treatment (over-diagnosis and over-treatment).

Furthermore, the PSA test is not very specific, in that around 7 of 10 men who undergo a biopsy will not have prostate cancer.

ProstateCheck combinines the PSA test with new biomarkers, resulting in fewer men being recommended for biopsy. Whilst nothing is risk-free, the majority of men who would have undergone biopsy with an elevated PSA and who are then recommended not to undergo a biopsy after having ProstateCheck, will not have prostate cancer.

To illustrate this further, for every 1,000 men who have a high PSA and would currently be recommended for biopsy, ProstateCheck can reduce the number of men recommended for biopsy by about a half (only 500 recommended for biopsy). In remaining 500, around 60 men would have a missed prostate cancer because they wouldn’t have been recommended for biopsy, but most (81.1%) of these missed cancers are of very low-risk category. ProstateCheck therefore helps identify the more aggressive and clinically relevant forms of prostate cancer.

We believe that the ProstateCheck will result in fewer men being sent for biopsy and reduce the risk of biopsies with a good chance that the more significant cancers will still be detected. This means ProstateCheck is the most innovative and specific method of early detection of prostate cancer available in the UK.

PSA test advice

If you choose to have a PSA test as part of our ProstateCheck prostate cancer screening service we advise you to follow the guidelines below to achieve the most accurate test result:

  1. No ejaculation or strenuous exercise up to 48 hours before the PDA test appointment time
  2. Please do not ride a bicycle on the day of the appointment
  3. Please do not eat oily or heavy food on the day of the appointment
  4. Please drink plenty of fluids in the hours up to the appointment

After your PSA test

Our team of specialists will analyse your PSA test results along with your hK2 biomarker and risk factors to determine what the next stage is for you. We will write to you within 3 weeks.

IIf your PSA test is normal, there should be no further action required. It should be noted however that there is a small chance (approximately 15%) of cancer being being present but going undetected. Our team will assess your risks as part of the online risk assessment you take at the ProstateCheck to advise you of the correct management pathway.

If your PSA test reveals that your PSA levels are slightly raised, we will advise you to have a repeat test in approximately 6 weeks time.

If your PSA test levels are found to be abnormally high we will refer you to a urologist for further investigation. Remember, a raised PSA level does not always mean that you have prostate cancer and 2 out of 3 men who have a biopsy as a result of raised PSA levels will NOT have prostate cancer. Raised levels do however need to be investigated and the consultant urologist will discuss your medical history, perform a rectal examination and arrange for a biopsy.

Further information and advice

If you are worried about prostate cancer, think that you may have prostate cancer symptoms or one of the other conditions such as prostatitis or enlarged prostate mentioned here then please read through our website. We have a FAQ section as well as information about prostate cancer survival rates and risk factors. We also have downloadable brochures that explain more about prostate cancer and the ProstateCheck early detection prostate cancer screening. If you can’t find an answer to your question on our site then please contact us.

Booking a prostate cancer screening appointment

If you wish to book an appointment please contact us and we can arrange one for you at a convenient time and place.

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