July 10, 2017
PSA Testing: Understanding Your Results
The thought of getting tested for cancer can be a very intimidating task, but understanding exactly what your results mean and what your options are going forward can help put you at ease. So, what do your PSA test results mean?
What is a PSA test?
First, you need to understand what a PSA test is. PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen and, simply put, is a protein produced by the prostate gland. The PSA test is a blood test that measures the amount of PSA in your blood. The PSA test can detect high levels of PSA in your blood that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
What is a normal PSA score?
Most doctors consider PSA levels of 4ng/ml and lower as normal. More than 85% of men over 55 will fall into this category.
What is considered an elevated PSA score?
An elevated PSA score (4 or greater) has been linked to an increased chance of having prostate cancer. Although, there are some non-cancerous reasons your PSA levels may be high. An example of this is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate.
What happens after an elevated PSA?
When your score is elevated, your healthcare provider will consider the following when deciding which steps to take next: your age, your past PSA test results, and any other symptoms or risk factors you have for prostate cancer. Genetic testing or an MRI followed by a focal biopsy could be expected next depending on your provider.
Why do you need to get screened?
Here’s the good news: prostate cancer, when detected early, has a 99% success rate. That’s why early detection and routine prostate screening is so vital. Sadly, metastatic prostate cancer is on the rise and has climbed 72% since 2004. The most obvious reason for such an increase is the reduction in PSA screening.
What has lead to the reduction in PSA screening?
Routine cancer screening has been disrupted by the idea that patients with prostate cancer are being over-treated. For example, patients are being treated with radiation and having to live with long term side effects such as incontinence and impotence when they could have avoided treatment altogether. However, this does not denounce the need for PSA screening. Instead, it shows that the dialogue between physician and patient needs to be fostered.
Why is PSA Screening so important?
It is a well-known fact with any sickness, the earlier you can detect it, the better your chances are to treat it. In this op-ed from our partner physician Dr. DeGuenther, he cites early detection as the main attribute for the decline in death rate. The death rate from prostate cancer has fallen by approximately 40 percent since prostate cancer screening went into widespread use in the mid-1990’s.
To learn more about Vituro Health’s comprehensive prostate care, call: 866-4VITURO (848876).