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Prostate Specific Antigen Test - PSA


Preparation & Expectations

What is involved in preparation for the test?

If possible, the patient should not ejaculate for 48 hours before a PSA test. If ejaculation has occurred and the PSA is elevated, it might be necessary to repeat the test.

Infections or inflammation of the prostate gland, called prostatitis, can also elevate PSA levels. Therefore, patients need to inform their doctors of any urinary symptoms that might exist. These may include pain with urination, urgency to urinate or discharge from the penis. The inflammation from prostatitis causes PSA to leak into the bloodstream. This causes the PSA level to be higher than normal.

Some patients will experience a rise in PSA if the test is taken after a simple rectal exam. If this is the case, the PSA test may have to be repeated.

The most common noncancerous cause of elevated PSA levels is benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). As men age, the prostate normally enlarges. This becomes more apparent after age 50. The most common symptom with BPH is difficulty urinating. About 80% of men will develop some symptoms of BPH in their lifetime. BPH is not cancer and will not lead to cancer. However, BPH may cause a false elevation of PSA values.


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