The PSA test is a blood test used to detect prostate cancer. Doctors suspect prostate cancer if the blood contains high levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen. For men who want to be screened for prostate cancer, the test is usually done every year beginning between ages 40 and 50, depending on individual risk factors.

PSA testing to screen for prostate cancer might seem like a no-brainer. However, the test has become controversial. If a man’s PSA is elevated, he’ll likely undergo a biopsy and, if cancer is diagnosed, invasive treatment. But because most prostate cancers grow slowly, they aren’t likely to affect the man during his lifetime. In addition, experts no longer recommend routine PSA screening for men ages 75 and older because they are more likely to die from another condition than from undetected prostate cancer.

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New study supports lifesaving benefits from PSA screening

Charles Schmidt Does screening for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test save lives? A new study suggests that it does, but at the risk of exposing men with slow-growing tumors that may not be life-threatening to treatments they may not really need. Published in Annals of Internal Medicine, the study reconciles conflicting results […]

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New imaging technique may help some men avoid prostate biopsy

Men who have high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their blood face troubling uncertainties. While it’s true that prostate cancer can elevate PSA, so can other conditions, including the benign prostate enlargement that afflicts many men as they get older. PSA levels also vary normally from one man to the next, and some men […]

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New urine test predicts high-grade cancer

Suspicious findings from prostate cancer screening are often followed by a procedure most men would prefer to avoid: a prostate biopsy. But what if biopsies actually could be avoided on the basis of non-invasive test results? Screening tests are moving in that direction, with some intriguing results. One of them, the Prostate Health Index blood test, combines measures of three forms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) into a score that helps doctors predict if a cancer is likely to progress, with an aim to circumvent biopsies that aren’t necessary.

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Does fewer PSA tests mean less prostate cancer?

Fewer men are being given PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer. As screening rates have fallen, so have the number of prostate cancer diagnoses. This probably also means that fewer men are receiving potentially unnecessary treatment, with its attendant negative side effects. At the same time, it isn’t yet clear whether that comes at the cost of more aggressive cancers being caught at an incurable stage. Better screening tests may make the difference in helping strike the right balance between limiting harm and preventing prostate cancer deaths.

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A woman’s testosterone-based vaginal cream linked to elevated testosterone in her husband

A woman’s use of a testosterone-based vaginal cream may have contributed to a spike in her husband’s prostate-specific antigen and testosterone levels after he had his prostate removed to fight advanced prostate cancer.

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Study: Men with BRCA gene variant should have PSA tests

A study published in the journal European Urology suggests that men who have defects in a cancer-suppressing gene known as BRCA are at high risk for aggressive prostate tumors, and so could benefit from PSA testing.

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Delaying treatment for PSA-only relapse poses won’t hurt survival in some men

Men who experience a spike in PSA but who have no symptoms after surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer can wait for up to two years before starting hormone therapy, according to a new study.

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What is a PSA test?

Doctors use this test to screen for prostate cancer, but it does not provide a definitive diagnosis.

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Video: Are PSA tests beneficial?

Two international and large randomized studies provide the most convincing evidence thus far that PSA based testing does nothing or meaningfully little to reduce the death rate from prostate cancer and confirm many earlier studies that came to the same conclusions. In this video, Marc Garnick, MD, discusses the implications.

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Is PSA reliable?

That’s a good question, because having an elevated PSA doesn’t necessarily mean that a man has prostate cancer.

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