PSA Screening

What is prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening?

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening is a simple blood test used to monitor your PSA levels. PSA is a naturally-occurring substance produced in your prostate gland found in your semen and blood.

Healthy men without prostate cancer typically have PSA levels of four nanograms or less per milliliter of blood. Higher PSA levels don’t necessarily indicate prostate cancer, but they do point to an increased risk.

When should I have my first PSA screening?

The team at Skyline Urology recommends you schedule your PSA screening based on your age and family history. Younger men with close relatives who died of prostate cancer should start screening at age 40.

Men with an average risk of prostate cancer, on the other hand, don’t need to start PSA screening until age 50.

What causes high PSA levels?

Your PSA levels fluctuate throughout your lifetime. Factors that contribute to higher PSA levels include:

  • Growing older
  • An inflamed prostate
  • Urologic procedures
  • Supplements and medications

Your PSA levels also increase after you ejaculate, so it’s recommended you abstain from sex in the days prior to your screening.

In some instances, PSA levels significantly decrease. This typically happens if you’re overweight or take diuretics or statins.

What are the advantages of PSA testing?

PSA testing provides a safe and effective means of detecting prostate cancer early on. Early detection means better treatment outcomes and a lower risk of side effects like urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Is PSA testing used for anything other than preventive screening?

The team at Skyline Urology offers PSA testing for men concerned about their risk of prostate cancer. PSA testing is also used to judge the effectiveness of certain medical treatments and to monitor for signs of recurrent prostate cancer.

What if my PSA levels are high?

If your PSA results come back high, your Skyline Urology provider may recommend another PSA screening depending on the situation. A DRE is performed as part of the evaluation as well.

The next steps depend on the results of your DRE and overall symptoms. If the team suspects you have prostate cancer, they perform an ultrasound or prostate biopsy. The practice at times uses a 3D ultrasound MRI fusion targeted biopsy to improve the sensitivity of detecting high-grade prostate cancer.