Elevated PSA can point to several prostate conditions.
As men age, it is recommended that they have their prostate screened for medical conditions, including prostate cancer. PSA screening is a baseline tool, used in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to help determine prostate health. Sometimes, blood tests will indicate an elevated PSA level. When this happens, it is prudent to be seek further evaluation to determine the cause of the elevation.
Patients are better informed than ever, so oftentimes know that an elevated psa can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. In reality, a rise in PSA levels can also be pointing to several other common prostate conditions. Current statistics indicate that 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer some time during their lives. However, this form of cancer is often treatable, which is evidenced by the 2 million American men who are prostate cancer survivors.
When visiting a urologist for a prostate screening, the PSA blood test will be ordered, and a digital rectal exam (DRE) performed. The DRE checks for the size and shape of the prostate, as well as any apparent nodules. Depending on these results, a more thorough examination may be warranted. The urologist will ask for information on the patient’s current and past medical history, medications they are currently taking, and any symptoms they may be experiencing. The urologist will work to diagnose, or eliminate common urologic conditions that can affect PSA levels including:
- Prostatitis – an inflammation/infection of the prostate gland.
- Urinary tract infection.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) also known as an enlarged prostate.
- Trauma to the perineal region, including catheter use.
In-office diagnostic tools can be used to identify these conditions, and appropriate treatment options can be administered. If PSA levels are elevated, the DRE shows abnormalities, and other prostate conditions are eliminated, a prostate biopsy may be the next step.
If you are 50 years of age or older, or are in your 40s with a family history of prostate cancer, contact Urology Austin to schedule a prostate screening. An elevated PSA may not always indicate the presence of cancer, however, if cancer is present, it’s important to be evaluated as soon as possible.
National Cancer Institute – PSA test