FAQ - Prostate Specific Antigen for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
- What is a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test?
The PSA test is a blood test that measures the total PSA level. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland, and helps liquefy the semen, resulting in a more fluid flow of the sperm. Normally, only a small amount of PSA enters the bloodstream, but when there is an inflammation or damage in the prostate tissue, the PSA level in the blood will go higher. An elevated PSA level within the blood is not solely triggered by prostate cancer. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate gland enlargement that is common among elderly men), infection, or prostate inflammation can also cause the level of PSA to rise.
If a man has a total PSA level between 2.6-10 ng/ml, he should take a free/total PSA test to determine whether the elevated level is caused by prostate cancer, inflammation, or prostate tissue damage.
Within the blood, PSA is found to be in a free state (free PSA) and mostly bound by protein (cPSA or complexed PSA). Research suggests that the elevated free PSA is associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia, while cPSA is with prostate cancer. Therefore, if the ratio of free/total PSA is low, prostate cancer can occur. Conversely, when the ratio of free/total PSA is high, it may be benign prostatic hyperplasia.
- Why have a PSA test?
The PSA test is necessary for early detection of prostate cancer, a disease with unknown cause and sometimes shows no symptoms until reaching a more advanced stadium. Although the symptoms can be identified in the advanced stadium, they are subtle and similar to those of other prostate problems, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. If detected earlier, prostate cancer can be cured more easily with higher probability of recovery. This is why, a prostate cancer screening through the regular PSA test is necessary.
- Who needs a PSA test?
The American Cancer Society recommends prostate cancer screening to men entering the age of 50. If prostate cancer exists in the family history, the screening is recommended since entering the age of 40. In addition, the prostate cancer screening is also recommended to the men with high risk, which comprises hormonal condition, smoking habit, frequent consumption of high-fat food with small portion of vegetable, and physical inactivity.
- When is the perfect time to have a PSA test?
The PSA test is recommended to men entering the age of 50, or since the age of 40 if there is a family history of prostate cancer and having other risk factors that can increase the risk of prostate cancer. When the result is normal, it is recommended to have a regular PSA test once a year. If the PSA test result indicates 2.6-10 ng/ml, it is recommended to take a ratio test of free/total PSA to determine further treatment, which can be a prostate biopsy or re-screening after 1 year. If the PSA test result turns out to be above 10 ng/ml, the doctor will recommend a prostate biopsy examination. For individuals diagnosed as having prostate cancer and undergoing treatment or therapy, the PSA test needs to be taken regularly every 3 months to 1 year in order to monitor the development of prostate cancer and its treatment.
- How is a PSA test done?
The PSA test is conducted by taking blood sample from the blood vessel located in the arm. There is no preparation needed to carry out such sampling.
- Where to test?
The PSA test can be carried out at all Prodia Clinical Laboratory' s branches throughout Indonesia. The test can be ordered directly at the branches or through Prodia' s Order Online.