Prostate Specific Antigen Test: 3 Things You Should Know

Prostate Specific Antigen Test: 3 Things You Should Know

Bajaj Finserv Health
May 13, 20224 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Prostate-specific antigen test helps check for prostate cancer
  • The prostate-specific antigen normal range is not sacrosanct
  • Prostate-specific antigen test results may be misleading at times

A prostate-specific antigen test tracks the prostate-specific antigen via your blood sample. As per research, the average PSA levels in India are lower compared to Western standards [1]. To understand this test a little better, keep in mind that the prostate gland's main purpose is to create a fluid that becomes a part of the semen along with other fluids and sperm. Low PSA levels are normal in men, while high levels can signify certain health conditions. 

The results of the prostate-specific antigen test are reported as nanograms of prostate specific antigens per millimeter of blood. Earlier, 4.0 ng/ml or below was considered the PSA test normal range. However, studies show you can have prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen levels below 4.0 ng/ml. It is also possible that your prostate-specific antigen test results are between 4 and 10 ng/ml, but you do not have prostate cancer [2]. Read on to understand more about the prostate-specific antigen and the PSA test normal range.

Additional Read: What Is the Testosterone Test? Answering 5 Important Questions About ItReasons for high prostate specific antigen level

Why is the prostate-specific antigen test done? 

Prostate cancer is a common problem, and men above the age of 50 are at greater risk for it [3]. By noticing its symptoms such as problems in urination or blood in urine, getting the prostate specific antigen test is a good move. It helps you detect such cancers before they worsen or spread and increases the chance of proper treatment. In this regard, the prostate-specific antigen test can be performed to:

  • Check the likelihood of prostate cancer
  • Check for any kind of recurring cancer
  • Judge effectiveness of treatment already being given
  • Part of your regular health check-up 

When diagnosing prostate cancer, it is possible that doctors conduct more than one test. So, in addition to the PSA test, a DRE (digital rectal examination) may also be required. Abnormal test results can further lead to a biopsy. 

What are the limitations of the prostate-specific antigen test?

The limitations of the prostate-specific antigen test include:

Chance of confusion

The test may not always provide results that point to a correct diagnosis, as an elevated PSA level does not always mean you have cancer. In some cases, it is possible for people with prostate cancer to also have a normal PSA test range.

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Frequent diagnoses that may be unnecessary 

PSA tests often point toward prostate cancers that may not affect your life in any way. This overdiagnosis can be a common result of this test, so be aware of this fact. 

Factors that can reduce the prostate-specific antigen levels 

Some medicines, such as those prescribed for benign prostatic hypertrophy, incontinence, chemotherapy, or bladder conditions, can reduce PSA. Being overweight or obese can also do the same. The prostate-specific antigen test doesn't take the above into account. 

Factors that can increase prostate-specific antigen levels 

Age, infected or enlarged prostate can also lead to a surge in PSA levels apart from cancer. These two are not taken into account by the test. 

What are the variations of the prostate-specific antigen test?

Your doctor can help you understand your prostate-specific antigen test results and inform you whether you need a biopsy. Keeping this in mind, variations of PSA tests include the following. 

  • The prostate-specific antigen comes in two forms, unattached or adhered to certain proteins in your blood. You only need to be concerned if your results show a smaller amount of free prostate-specific antigens. 
  • You require further investigation only if your prostate-specific antigen levels are denser against each volume of tissue, as this may be a sign of prostate cancer. This can easily be checked with an MRI or ultrasound. 
Additional Read: 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D Test: Here Are Its Purpose, Process, Results, and Risks

Before taking a prostate-specific antigen test, talk to your doctor about what the prostate-specific antigen normal range will be for you. Discuss the risks and benefits of this health test men undergo when they have prostate issues. To do this with ease, you can book a doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health and get answers to all your questions about the health of your prostate gland. On the platform or the Bajaj Finserv Health app, you can also opt for health insurance to protect your health and your finances. The Complete Health Solution plan, for instance, allows you to get coverage for lab tests, preventive health check-ups, OPD consultations, and more. So, sign up now and prioritize your health today! 

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Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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