What happens next if PSA levels are elevated?
According to the same site, if you are between the ages of 45 and 75 and your PSA levels are below 1 nanogram per deciliter (ng/mL) and the DRE shows no red flags, you can repeat the test. every 2 to 4 years. If your PSA level is between 1 and 3 ng/mL with a normal digital rectal exam, you should be screened annually or biannually. If your PSA level is above 3 ng/mL or if the digital rectal exam reveals red flags, your doctor may want to investigate further sooner.
For people over 75, you should continue to get tested every 1 to 4 years if your PSA level was below 3 ng/mL and digital rectal examination was normal. For superior results or if the digital rectal exam « is very suspicious », you may need to have further tests from your doctor.
What can you expect from a PSA test?
The Prostate Cancer Foundation says the test itself is relatively simple, noting that a « small amount » of blood is taken from the arm to be analyzed in the lab. The PSA level will then be determined, but the source notes that a high reading doesn’t necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. In fact, in some cases, men with normal readings may have prostate cancer.
He explains that the PSA test is just the beginning to determine if further screening is warranted. This could include the DRE if not administered before the PSA test, the source says. Other tests may be needed, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the prostate itself, as well as to determine PSA density and velocity (rate of increase), before deciding to a prostate biopsy.