Medical tests: The PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test

The PSA test

PSA is an acronym that is known to the specific antigen of the prostate (Prostate-Specific Antigen). The prostate is a gland that exists only in the male and which embraces the urethra below the bladder. It is responsible for producing many substances, many of them necessary for the production of semen. These substances include the PSA, which is a molecule that can be measured in the blood, thus determining their concentration.
PSA production depends mainly on the amount of male sex hormones and the size of the gland. PSA levels in the blood are usually very low, are considered normal levels of 4 ng/mL. There are situations in which PSA can increase in blood, such as exercise or ejaculation. Also undergo a digital rectal examination, a biopsy of prostate or the fact of having taken a urinary catheter.

What is a PSA test

It is the reason that the PSA is best known for being a good marker for the prostate cancer. When it appears a tumor in the prostate PSA production goes awry and increases its concentration in blood. It is considered a PSA suspicious if it is higher than 10 ng/mL. When PSA is between 4 and 10 ng/mL is recommended to study why which is high, without being so strong the suspicion of prostate cancer. The PSA test also serves to detect other diseases of the prostate such as benign prostate hyperplasia or infection of the prostate gland (prostatitis).
For years it has been thought that PSA could be a good method of early detection of prostate cancer in the general population. After many studies and experience, it can be concluded that PSA is not useful for detecting prostate cancer in patients who have no symptoms that make suspected prostate pathology. Ultimately there are cases of cancer of prostate PSA elevation and, above all, many of the cases that have elevated PSA do so for other reasons and undergo a prostate biopsy unnecessarily. In addition, prostate cancer is a disease that does not need treatment in early stages, and his diagnosis only increases the anxiety in the person suffering.
Therefore, the analysis of prostate should be performed only when the doctor sees it, it will be when your results to determine a diagnosis and specific treatment.
The PSA test It is a test of easy preparation and little aggressive, it's a simple blood test. Its results should be interpreted with caution. Test which is still today the most useful for detecting prostate cancer early is to perform a digital rectal examination annually from 50 years of age.

When doing a PSA test

A single PSA (prostate specific antigen) test is recommended to the following persons and in the following circumstances:
Suspicious rectal: with rectal can feel the prostate, see its volume and consistency. When the prostate is too hard can be a test of the PSA last time to see their levels in blood.
Urinary symptoms: people who suffer from prostate may have symptoms when they urinate. Normally it costs them more time urination, tends to be choppy and at the end of may have leakage of urine for a while.
Screening for prostate cancer in over 50 years: today make a PSA for the diagnosis of prostate cancer is a recommendation that has been proven useless. In addition, it is normal that with age the PSA levels increase, since the prostate grow in size.
Staging of prostate cancer: after a biopsy that there is a prostate tumor is already known, the PSA can help determine to what degree it is. Higher PSA levels have been associated with tumors more aggressive and more widespread by the body.
Control of relapses: patients who removed the prostate by a tumor should be tracked periodically which can perform a PSA determination. It is normal to have very low levels in blood, but if there is a recurrence of the tumor may appear in blood clearly.
People with a family history of prostate cancer: the role of PSA as a method of early detection of cancer is under discussion in these cases. On the one hand it is people with higher risk than normal of having prostate cancer and the test will be more useful, on the other hand, prostate cancer is very common in any 60-year-old male, so there is not much difference with other people without family members who have had cancer.

Preparation for a PSA test

If they are going to do an PSA test these are the issues that you must consider when go prepared to test:
Duration: usually takes very little time, what it takes to be a blood analysis: seconds or minutes. Results take rather longer to receive, usually several days.
Admission: admission is never needed. The PSA test is a test that can be done at a time.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: , isn't just a prick to get analytics. It is not usually very painful and is minimally invasive, so you can only attend the clinic and return in the same way.
Drugs: don't need to take any prior medication. Although Yes we must say to the doctor all medications you are taking at that time, since some drugs can increase or decrease the levels of PSA. Many of them are easy to relate (medications for benign hyperplasia of prostate, for example), but others may go unnoticed (e.g. treatments for baldness).
Food: an analysis of PSA before you can eat normally, you don't have to go on fasting. But it is frequent to seize the prick of Analytics to measure yourself with other parameters in blood (sugar, cholesterol, etc.), it is best that you reports before or directly go on fasting if analytics is early.
Clothes: you can wear normal street clothes.
Documents: is advisable to go with your health insurance card, although most of the times is sufficient to bring the wheel with which the doctor sent you proof.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: the evaluation of the PSA is a test that only occurs in men, so it makes no sense that pregnancy or breast feeding are important factors for a man. Yes, it should be noted that the test does not imply any difficulty to find a baby with your partner, although recent ejaculation can be the result of the PSA.
Contraindications: there are no contraindications for the analysis of the PSA. So just rating if it really is worth the test and the results would serve as something.

How a PSA test

When you reach the query to perform you an PSA test (prostate specific antigen) doctor will make you some general questions about your state of health: important diseases, risk factors, lifestyle, work place and mostly insist on voiding or urinary symptoms (if it costs you to urinate, or do it in a choppy manner, etc). The doctor will ask the PSA test when necessary. After perform you a general physical examination, and assess the realization of a rectal examination accompanied or not measuring the levels of PSA in the blood.
Days after this first visit, you cite for you blood PSA. It is recommended that the five previous days do not make you intense physical exercise (gym, running, football...) to prevent the PSA data is changed. If between the query and the performance of the test they have made you a digital rectal examination or a catheterisation will have to remind you that you tell the doctor to collect the results, since these tests can alter PSA levels in blood.
The day of the analytics can make a normal life. In case of doubt it is better to go to analysis in fasting, if do you other tests. You must not go nervous, it's just a routine blood test. When you arrive at the clinic they ask you the wheel and then make you go to the room of blood extractions. There you sentarás on a Chair and discover you arm. The nurse will use an antiseptic substance to clean the area to puncture and then prick a vein in the forearm with a needle. Take one small tube of blood.
Once taken the sample they will leave you a cotton to pressure puncture site for a while to avoid bleeding and bruises are formed. You can then go for breakfast, if you have not already done so, and to make your daily routine until days or weeks later give you results in the doctor.

Complications of the PSA website

Complications analysis of PSA are virtually non-existent. It is a safe test that does not entail risks for persons who are subjected to it. The only risk is to know about false positive test results requiring more aggressive testing.

The PSA test results

The results of the analysis of PSA (prostate specific antigen) may take several weeks since the blood is collected for study. To pick them up there to keep another appointment, since the documentation alone can not be interpreted by the patient. In consultation, the doctor will be the most appropriate interpretation of the results of the analytical.
When PSA levels are less than 4 ng/mL in blood is considered that alterations there are no. It is important to note that that does not rule out outright form of prostate cancer, PSA levels may be low in some tumors and may also decrease by medication or other situations.
If PSA levels are higher than 10 ng/mL in blood their cause should be considered. It is important to tell the doctor if you have situations that they have been able to raise PSA prior analytics. Rectal will be compulsory, if it has not already, and valuing all your aspects will decide whether or not to perform a prostate biopsy.
When PSA levels between 4-10 ng/mL is difficult to make a direct decision. Once more the rest of tests are decisive. Sometimes you can choose to perform an analysis of the fraction-free PSA, which consists of study percentage of PSA is free in plasma, instead of going to other proteins. A more specific test that provides more data to consider is considered.
In people who already have a known prostate disease (cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, infections, etc.) the PSA test serves to control the disease through periodic analytical. Normally, PSA levels will be constant or decrease. If there is suddenly a sudden elevation of PSA will make us think that the disease goes wrong or has been extended.
Article contributed for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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