What is a PSA test?

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein that comes from prostatic tissue, and its level can be checked via a blood test. It is useful in telling doctors which treatments may benefit patients with non-cancerous and cancerous prostate diseases, who needs to be examined further for prostate cancer, and for monitoring treatment for prostate cancer.

The test works by measuring out the amount of the protein in the blood. As an increased level of the protein can be found as a consequence of a number of reasons such as age, non-cancerous prostatic growths and urinary infections, a high PSA does not always mean the presence of prostate cancer.

A PSA test may detect prostate cancer at an early stage when it can be detected by no other means, and even when there are no other symptoms at all. However, not all men who have a raised PSA level will have prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is diagnosed, the PSA test can be very valuable in monitoring the condition as well as the response to all forms of treatment. For further information about the PSA test see the leaflet here or PSA Explanatory-booklet