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What can an elevated PSA count indicate?

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Quick Answer

An elevated prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, count indicates the possible presence of prostate cancer, as stated by Prostate Cancer UK. However, additional tests are required to confirm if a patient has prostate cancer. Other prostate problems, such as prostatitis and an enlarged prostate, also lead to increased PSA levels.

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Full Answer

Prostate-specific antigen is a substance produced by the prostate gland. PSA levels are usually below 4 nanograms per milliliter. Men with levels higher than 4 are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Typically, men with levels higher than 10 have a 67 percent risk of getting cancer, says WebMD. Men with an elevated PSA count need more tests, such as a biopsy test, to confirm their condition.

With findings from different studies, scientists recommend lowering the cutoff level for determining normal PSA levels to 2.5 nanograms per milliliter, as of 2014. This is because younger patients have small prostates and low PSA levels, so an increase past 2.5 nanograms per milliliter is a cause of concern, explains WebMD.

A PSA test determines antigen levels of a person. The test helps detect cancer at an early stage. However, it is necessary to weigh the benefits, limitations and the risks of the test before undergoing one. There is conflicting information about PSA testing, and this should be a personal decision with the help of a doctor, notes Mayo Clinic.

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