DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
The PSA test is used primarily to screen for prostate cancer. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced in the prostate, a small gland that sits below a man's bladder. PSA is mostly found in semen, which also is produced in the prostate. Small amounts of PSA ordinarily circulate in the blood.
The PSA test can detect high levels of PSA that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. However, many other conditions, such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate, can also increase PSA levels.
There is a lot of conflicting advice about PSA testing. Ultimately, whether you have a PSA test is something you should decide after discussing it with your doctor, considering your risk factors and weighing your personal preferences.
Prostate cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/index. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Prostate cancer screening. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/basic_info/screening.htm. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Ilic D, et al. Screening for prostate cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004720.pub3/abstract. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Moyer VA. Screening for prostate cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012;157:120.
- Prostate cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/prostate/HealthProfessional/page1. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- PSA. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/psa/tab/test. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/PSA. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Hoffman RM. Screening for prostate cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 4, 2013.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ. April 17, 2013.
- Carter HB, et al. Early detection of prostate cancer: AUA guideline. American Urological Association. http://www.auanet.org/education/guidelines/prostate-cancer-detection.cfm. Accessed May 6, 2013.