Do All Men Need a PSA Test?

Do All Men Need a PSA Test?

If you’re a man and want to maintain the best reproductive health possible, a routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should be part of your health care routine. But do all men need this preventive screening and how often should this screening be done?  

At Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our board-certified providers use this simple and easy blood test to diagnose different conditions of the prostate, including benign prostatic hyperplasia, enlarged prostate, infections, and prostate cancer. 

To help you understand who needs a PSA test and when you might benefit from it, we’ve created this informative guide. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about PSA tests.   

Understanding PSA tests

Prostate glands secrete a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Both normal and abnormal (cancerous) prostate cells have this protein, and a PSA test measures the levels of it in your blood to calculate your risk of prostate cancer and other problematic prostatic conditions. 

Your Urological Associates provider uses your PSA levels to detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. This helps ensure you begin treatment at the right time so it is more effective.

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your provider may also schedule you for regular PSA tests to track the progression of the disease and monitor the effectiveness of any treatments. 

Who needs a PSA test and when

The best way to determine if you need a PSA test is to talk to your provider at Urological Associates. General guidelines recommend beginning PSA screenings around age 55, but you may need one earlier depending on different factors, including:

The frequency of routine PSA testing after 55 depends on many factors, including your current age, results of prior PSA tests, and any existing prostate conditions. Most men get tested every 2-3 years, but your provider may recommend more or less frequent screenings based on your results and unique situation. 

Understanding your PSA results

Like the many elements that influence when you need a PSA test, understanding your PSA results involves considering different factors to determine if your results are normal or abnormal, including your age and the presence of any urinary, erectile, ejaculatory, and lower body symptoms. 

Many men assume high PSA levels mean prostate cancer. However, if your Urological Associates provider tells you your test shows elevated levels of PSA, it could mean you have another condition that affects your prostate, including:

Early detection of any of these prostate conditions makes treatment more effective. Your provider may order additional tests to confirm your diagnosis and treatment plan, taking time to address any questions or concerns you have. 

If your PSA tests indicate prostate cancer is likely, you may need a biopsy. Your provider removes small tissue samples for further analysis. 

The outcome for prostate cancer is excellent when caught early. Depending on the stage of prostate cancer, your age, and other factors, treatment may involve watchful waiting, hormone therapy, radiation, chemotherapy, biological therapy, or removal of some or all of your prostate gland.  

To learn more about PSA tests and whether you could benefit from this simple screening, schedule an appointment with a provider at Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, by phone or using our online tool.   

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