Key Points

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the PSA test along with a digital rectal exam to help detect prostate cancer in men age 50 and older. The FDA has also approved the PSA test to monitor patients with a history of prostate cancer to see if the cancer has recurred.
  • Doctors’ recommendations for PSA screening vary.
  • The higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is that cancer is present, but there are other possible reasons for an elevated PSA level.
  • Doctors take several factors into account for men who have a rising PSA level after treatment for prostate cancer.
  • The PSA test for screening has limitations and is still controversial.
  • Researchers are studying ways to validate and improve the PSA test and to find other ways of detecting prostate cancer early.

 

Source: National Cancer Institute