What does a PSA blood test show?


Quick Answer

The PSA blood test shows the quantity of a specific protein present in the blood, according to the National Cancer Institute. It is used for prostate cancer screening and to monitor prostate health. PSA is made by the prostate, and elevated levels can indicate prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate cancer.

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Full Answer

In the past, routine yearly PSA screenings for prostate cancer were recommended. This frequency is no longer recommended for men in the general population because routine screenings frequently detect small cancers that grow so slowly that the invasive procedures involved in their removal serve no overall benefit, reports WebMD.

Current recommendations for PSA testing differ from one organization to another. The American Cancer Society recommends testing only after a thorough discussion of the risks, benefits and limitations of prostate cancer screening, states WebMD. It recommends that men discuss screenings with their doctors at the age of 50, or earlier if there is an elevated risk.

The American Urological Association recommends that men discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctors when they are between the ages of 55 and 69, according to WebMD. The organization does not recommend PSA screening in males younger than 40 and advises against routine screening between ages 40 and 54. Men older than 70 or those with less than a 15-year life expectancy are not advised to undergo routine PSA screening.

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