Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
January 2001

According to the Harvard Men’s Health Watch, July 2001, “The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is the most important recent development in men’s health. It’s also the most controversial. The PSA test is important because it’s the best way to detect cancer in its earliest form. But it’s controversial because experts disagree about how to use it.”

What is the PSA test? PSA is a protein produced in the prostate gland. PSA is a normal part of the ejaculate and helps to liquefy the semen so the sperm can swim more easily to the target and fertilize the egg. Although PSA is made in the body to assist the semen, some of the PSA makes its way into the bloodstream. If a man has developed prostate cancer, his blood tests will show elevated PSA, and the doctor will conduct additional testing to determine the extent of the cancer. This will involve a biopsy and digital rectal exam, as well as other scans. This is done so the doctor can better evaluate the patient’s condition for treatment and/or surgery.

If the PSA test result falls in the normal range, the doctor will advise the patient concerning future tests, depending on age, family history, and so on.

If the PSA test result is elevated but additional tests show that the patient does not have cancer, then the doctor will conduct further tests to verify that the PSA test is not a false positive and whether the patient has benign (not malignant) prostate hyperplasia (swelling) or BPH. Medications and herbal preparations such as saw palmetto can help the man with BPH achieve a better quality of life.

Should healthy men have annual PSA tests? The answer differs from doctor to doctor. Every man should have a medical examination every year and a frank discussion with his doctor about the state of his health, including his prostate health and whether he should have a PSA test. Prostate cancer is a common cancer in the U.S. as well as other industrial countries, and nearly all U.S. urologists recommend testing, yet few Canadian and European doctors recommend the test.

To help you decide whether the PSA test is for you, Better Life offers the following facts:
  • The PSA test was discovered in 1970 and doctors began using the test in 1986, so the test and range of results are well established. PSA tests are inexpensive, quick, and safe.

  • Many doctors recommend testing for their patients over 50 years of age, and also recommend earlier testing whenever there is a strong family history of prostate cancer.

  • African-American men should begin PSA tests at about 40 because prostate cancer rates are very high among these men.

  • Up to three-quarters of prostate cancers are slow growing, but others are very aggressive and highly lethal. Only testing can determine how aggressive the cancer is.

  • PSA testing is the best way to detect early prostate cancer while it is still in the curable stage.
BBBOnLine Reliability Seal © 2011 Better Life Unlimited™
A division of Better Life Institute © (BLI, Inc.)
 Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
SecurityMetrics Credit Card Safe