September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, in anticipation of that, the Urology Group of Princeton would like to take the opportunity to remind you that, if you haven’t already done so this year, it’s time to set up your PSA screening.
A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test detects the presence of a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. It’s normal to have a low PSA level; however, when there is a problem with the prostate, such as cancer, it causes PSA levels to rise. Screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been instrumental in minimizing the number of deaths from prostate cancer.
The test involves drawing a sample of blood that is then submitted to a laboratory for analysis. PSA levels are commonly expressed in nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Although there is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA in the blood, and levels may vary over time in the same man, an individual with a high PSA level, usually greater than 4.0 ng/mL, may be referred for further testing.
Additional testing is warranted because, although prostate cancer can indeed cause elevated levels of PSA, there are also noncancerous conditions that can increase the PSA level. So, while the PSA test can detect high levels of PSA in the blood, it doesn’t necessarily mean that cancer is present. Your urologist will determine if additional testing is required; it may include a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), a urine test (to check for a urinary tract infection, and imaging tests, such as a transrectal ultrasound, x-rays, or cystoscopy.
For more information about prostate cancer, including detection, symptoms, and treatment options, please call the Urology Group of Princeton, at 609.924.6487, to schedule an appointment.