The London Clinic, 120 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JW
The PSA test is a simple blood test that can help to diagnose prostate cancer. The test isn’t offered to everyone, but it can play an important role in detecting one of the most common men’s health issues.
 
Reasons for PSA Test

What is the PSA Test?

The PSA test measures the levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen in your blood. If the levels are higher than normal for your age, it can be a sign of prostate cancer. However, high PSA levels can also be a sign of other conditions, such as a urinary infection or benign prostate enlargement. You may need to have a biopsy or other tests to confirm the diagnosis so that you can get the right treatment.

Reasons to Have the PSA Test

  • PSA testing can help you and your doctor to make the right decisions about having further tests such as a biopsy.
  • Detecting cancer as soon as possible can increase the chances that treatment will be successful.
  • The results can help to reveal the cause of symptoms such as urinary problems and other men’s health symptoms.
  • The test results can reassure you if your PSA levels are normal.

Reasons Not to Have the PSA Test

  • The test could show high levels of PSA even though you are healthy, which could lead you to have unnecessary tests and treatment.
  • The test can’t differentiate between harmful, fast growing cancer and harmless, slow-growing cancer that won’t ever cause symptoms. You may therefore have unnecessary treatment to remove a tumour that would have been harmless.
  • It is possible that you will have a normal result even if you do have prostate cancer, which could provide false reassurance and lead you to ignore any symptoms that develop later.

Who Should Have the Test

The PSA test is not offered as part of routine men’s health screening in the UK as there is a risk it could lead to unnecessary treatment. If you are healthy and at low risk of prostate cancer, it is usually unnecessary to undergo the PSA test. However, it may be a good idea to consider having the test if you are over 50, at high risk of prostate cancer, or experiencing symptoms that could be caused by this condition.
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