Q:

How do you prepare for a PSA test?

A:

Quick Answer

Other than providing information concerning all current medications, no special preparation is needed before a prostate-specific antigen test, according to MedlinePlus. The American Cancer Society advises that men talk with their doctors about the benefits and potential drawbacks of prostate cancer screening before deciding to be tested, reports WebMD.

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Full Answer

A doctor should be aware of all medications a person is taking prior to a PSA blood test because some drugs cause PSA levels to be falsely low, states MedlinePlus. The doctor evaluates the PSA test findings in relation to factors including age, ethnicity, and currently taken medications to determine if PSA results are normal or whether further tests are needed.

The American Cancer Society's guidelines dictate that PSA testing not take place without an individual discussing the benefits, risks and limitations of the test with his doctor, asserts WebMD. Men with an average risk of prostate cancer are recommended to initiate this discussion at age 50; men with a higher risk for prostate cancer are advised to begin this discussion earlier.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not advocate routine PSA screening for men regardless of age, according to WebMD, Their concern is that the tests may discover cancers that are developing too slowly for medical treatments to be effective against, but that such treatments do carry significant risks of harmful side effects.

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