Medical Q&As

Prostate cancer - PSA test?

Does an elevated PSA indicate prostate cancer?

PSA stands for prostate specific antigen, which is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. The PSA test involves taking a blood sample from an arm vein and sending the sample to the laboratory in order to measure the quantity of PSA in the blood. It is simply a screening test and its possible future role in mass screening for prostate cancer is a matter of hot debate in medical circles. If the level is high and the prostate gland feels abnormal on rectal examination then further testing is needed to establish a diagnosis. In other words a high PSA indicates a need for further testing but in itself is not diagnostic of cancer. In fact most men with an elevated PSA turn out not to have prostate cancer at all. PSA can be elevated in benign non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland and it can also be elevated in cases of prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland. In summary an elevated PSA does not indicate that a man has prostate cancer.