Men: You may know that at some point, you’ll need to get a PSA screening, but what does that mean? And when is it needed? A PSA, or prostate-specific antigen screening, is a blood test most often used as the first step in testing for prostate cancer. The screening measures PSA concentration to determine if further testing, such as a biopsy, is necessary. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men in the U.S. today. That’s why it’s more important than ever to understand when you should start getting screened.
When should you get a PSA screening?
If you’re age 50 or older, it’s time to talk to your doctor about screenings. However, African-American men and those with a history of cancer in the family are at greater risk and should talk to their doctor sooner. Early detection is key to successful treatment of prostate cancer.
Additionally, for individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer, regular PSA screenings can help determine whether a treatment is effective and can check for recurrence of cancer.
How frequently should you get screened?
Depending on your age, individual history, and risk factors, your doctor will advise you on if, when, and how frequently you should be screened. That said, a typical schedule is every one to three years. It’s important to note that a PSA screening alone does not determine if you have prostate cancer, and your doctor will recommend follow-up tests if your PSA levels appear high.
What happens if your PSA concentration is high?
A PSA level greater than 3ng/mL could be a sign of prostate cancer, and your urologist will work with you to schedule follow-up tests, which may include a digital rectal exam (DRE) or biopsy. Depending on your PSA results and any follow-up tests, your doctor will make recommendations on how frequently you should be screened.
It’s important to note that while a high PSA level may be a sign of prostate cancer, it could be a sign of other issues as well, including other cancers or an enlarged or inflamed prostate. That’s why it’s so important to work closely with your doctor to ensure you take the right steps for your health needs. Each situation is unique, and the expert team at RGU is known for providing personalized, quality care. Your doctor will help walk you through a plan that best fits your health needs.
Contact RGU today to schedule an appointment to discuss your PSA screening plan.