A simple blood test that measures the level of prostate specific antigen, or PSA, in the blood is an early screening method for prostate cancer. If cancer is found as a result of early testing, it is generally in an earlier stage and is more treatable.
Normal PSA levels
The normal level of PSA in the blood varies based on age. The recommended age of a baseline prostate screening is 50 years old and yearly screenings are recommended from then on. The level of PSA in the blood at that age that is considered normal is less than four ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). For younger men normal PSA levels are lower because they usually have smaller prostates. Their levels are considered normal when they are below
2.5 ng/ml. Earlier screening
Many men who may have a high risk of developing prostate cancer have their first PSA screening when they are 40 or 45. Several factors that put men at high risk include being of African American decent, having a brother or father that had prostate cancer and being 65 years old or older.
Elevated PSA Levels
What does a high PSA level indicate?
In general, PSA levels are considered elevated when they are above four ng/ml In younger men. If the results of your blood test show elevated PSA levels, it could be an indication of prostate cancer. However, there are other conditions that are non-cancerous, such as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or an inflamed prostate (prostatitis), which could result in elevated levels. Increasing age and high levels
Another possible cause of elevated levels is your age. It is normal for PSA levels to gradually increase as you get older. This occurs even if you do not have any type of prostate condition.
Taking medications can also cause elevated, or lowered, PSA blood levels. If your PSA blood test is high, your medical professional may want you to have a prostate biopsy to find out whether or not you have cancer. How is a biopsy done?
For the biopsy, a small sample of the tissue is taken from the prostate and sent for testing in the lab. In order to positively make a diagnosis of prostate cancer, a biopsy must imperatively be performed.