An elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level can indicate prostate cancer or other noncancerous but still-serious conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Kiavash Nikkhou, MD, an experienced board-certified urologist practicing in Thousand Oaks, California, offers initial PSA workup as well as long-term surveillance. If you need treatment for prostate cancer, BPH, or another condition, he provides the latest medical and surgical solutions. Book an appointment online or by phone today.
A PSA test checks your blood for a specific type of protein called PSA. Your prostate produces PSA, and it mainly stays in your semen with a small amount in your blood as well.
If you have high PSA levels in your blood, it could indicate prostate cancer, which is the reason PSA testing is a standard prostate cancer screening method.
Although a high PSA level could mean you have prostate cancer, it can also point to other conditions like prostatitis (inflamed prostate) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).
If you had a recent procedure like cystoscopy or needed a urethral catheter, you might have higher-than-normal PSA levels. Recent ejaculation and some medications can also influence your PSA levels.
Normal PSA level varies from one man to another. Age is a significant factor in PSA level. Your prostate generally grows as you age, particularly later in life. A larger prostate produces more PSA, which leads to elevated PSA levels.
PSA testing is highly individual, based upon your age, risk factors, and other personal factors. American Urological Association (AUA) recommendations for PSA screening include:
No PSA screening under age 40
The AUA recommends no PSA screening for men aged 40-54 with average risk. But, if you're a black man or if you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should talk to Dr. Nikkhou about screening.
Starting at age 55, you should discuss your particular situation and needs with Dr. Nikkhou to determine whether you need PSA screening.
If you're over 70, enjoy good health, and expect to live at least a decade, Dr. Nikkhou might recommend continuing with regular PSA testing. If you're 70 or older, and neither of these things is correct, you may not need further PSA testing.
Dr. Nikkhou believes in shared decision-making, and he’s here to help you make the right prostate cancer screening choices for your unique circumstances.
You might need a prostate biopsy if you have both an elevated PSA level and abnormal results in a digital rectal exam. Dr. Nikkhou usually performs these tests together; then, he can determine whether you need a prostate biopsy to check for prostate cancer.
If your initial workup shows an elevated PSA level, Dr. Nikkhou recommends an approach based upon your specific needs. Some cases require long-term surveillance, while others may require specific targeted treatment.
If you have a prostate biopsy and receive a cancer diagnosis, Dr. Nikkhou can help you transition into targeted cancer therapy.
Early identification of prostate cancer can be the best way to preserve your health — and PSA screening is your first proactive step. Learn more by calling Kiavash Nikkhou, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.