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Elevated PSA

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate gland. With prostate disease, inflammation, or trauma, higher amounts of PSA may be found in a man’s blood stream. This elevated blood PSA level has become an important indicator of many diseases, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer. The PSA test is widely used to diagnose prostate cancer and other issues of the prostate, and can also be utilized to monitor men with prostate cancer who have decided on “watchful waiting” rather than clinical treatment, or to measure the effectiveness of ongoing prostate therapies. 

It is important to note that there are other reasons, such as a urinary tract infection, which could result in an elevated PSA. Prostate biopsies and prostate surgery also increase PSA level. Conversely, some drugs which are used to treat BPH lower a man’s PSA level. PSA level may also vary somewhat across testing laboratories.  The test is one of many tools to discover prostate cancer at its earliest stages, and positive results will always be followed by further diagnostic testing to confirm that prostate disease is present.

While there is controversy surrounding the efficacy and need for PSA testing, Skyline Urology supports the guidelines of the American Urology Association that men over 50, or over 40 with significant risk factors for developing prostate cancer, should discuss this simple blood test, and the pros and cons of having it done, with their physician.

Procedure

The PSA test is a simple blood test. The results are usually recorded as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood. There is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA in the blood, but most doctors considered PSA levels of 2.5 ng/mL and lower as normal. If you have a PSA level above 2.5 ng/mL, your physician may recommend additional screening options or a prostate biopsy to determine whether prostate cancer is present.