19 Dec PSA test
Alternative Names: Prostate Specific Antigen
Testing for PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is performed routinely to pick up any abnormalities of the prostate gland as early as possible. PSA is a protein (antigen) that is released from the cells of the prostate gland; greater amounts than normal of PSA could indicate prostate cancer or infection of the prostate gland (prostatitis). A sample of blood is withdrawn through a needle inserted into a vein, usually in the area inside the elbow, and sent to a laboratory for analysis. All men, especially those over 40, should have regular prostate screening, including rectal examinations (where the doctor can feel the prostate gland).
What is it?
PSA is a protein (antigen) that is released from the cells of the prostate gland. It is present in the blood of all men, but is released in far greater amounts from an abnormal prostate gland.
The taking of the blood sample can be done at any doctor’s rooms or clinic – the analysis is done in a laboratory.
Why is it done?
PSA is performed as a routine screening test in order to pick up any abnormalities as early as possible. High levels of PSA may be due to:
- Prostate cancer
- Prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland)
- Unknown causes
Before – how to prepare
No special preparation is necessary.
During – how the test is done
A convenient area, where there are prominent veins, is identified and cleaned – the area inside the elbow is often used. A tourniquet or tight band is applied above the area in order to increase pressure and dilate the veins. A needle is then inserted, through the skin, into a vein, and some blood is withdrawn. The needle may cause some pain but this is not usually severe. The blood specimen is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
After the test
You will have a small dressing over the puncture wound, which can be removed after a few hours.
Risks and Compilations
There is a slight risk of excessive bleeding at the puncture site and an even smaller risk of infection.
All men (certainly all men over 40) should have regular prostate screening, including rectal examination (where the doctor can feel the prostate gland), PSA blood tests, and other investigations if needed.
Testing for PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is performed routinely to pick up any abnormalities of the prostate gland as early as possible.
PSA, Prostate Specific Antigen, prostate specific antigen, prostate gland test