According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is the second leading cause of mortality in American men—just next to lung cancer. But it’s also important to know that many prostate cancer patients are still alive today.
Early detection offers the best hope to live a full life continuously. A recent study shows that a relative 10-year survival rate is 98%. Because the symptoms usually begin in the late stages, men are encouraged to consider screening during 3 points in their life:
- At age 40, if you have first-degree relatives who have/had prostate cancer
- At age 45, if you have first-degree relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer before they reached 65
- At age 50, as a precautionary measure
One of the tools in prostate cancer screening is PSA testing. Whether you’re at risk or not, knowing what PSA blood work is essential.
PSA Blood Test Results Explained
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the normal and malignant tissues in the prostate.
What does PSA blood test measure? The PSA test checks the PSA levels through a blood sample, reported as nanograms of PSA per mL of blood (ng/mL).
Inflammation can also increase PSA level—which complicates the answer to what does high PSA means in blood work.
The US Food and Drug Administration previously approved PSA blood work for monitoring of diagnosed men. In 1994, it was approved to test asymptomatic men for prostate cancer in conjunction with a digital rectal exam.
What Is a Normal PSA Blood Test Level?
As mentioned earlier, PSA blood test results can be complicated to define. The doctor considers various factors before making a diagnosis. Nevertheless, what does a PSA blood test measure is highly indicative of a prostate problem.
It’s important to understand that there’s no established normal PSA level at any given age. If the result is between 4.0 to 10.0 ng/mL, there’s the possibility of prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate cancer.
Other factors that can affect PSA blood test results are:
Age: Even if you have no prostate issues, it’s normal for your PSA levels to increase with age slowly.
Medications: Some chemicals may affect PSA levels. Inform your doctor if you’re under any medication. Finasteride (Proscar or Propecia) or dutasteride (Avodart) may lower PSA levels.
How Accurate Are PSA Blood Tests?
To get the most accurate result possible, you shouldn’t do the following:
- Perform heavy exercises 48 hours before the test
- Ejaculate 48 hours before the test
- Prostate biopsy 6 weeks before the test
- Take the test if you have a urinary infection
A 7–9-hour fasting is also needed before the PSA blood work.
If you’re 50 or younger but have a family history of prostate cancer, consider early screening through a Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA Serum Test). At Walk-in Lab, we offer a PSA test that doesn’t require fasting or a doctor’s order. Buy your test kit now and get the result within 24-48 hours only!