For those who do not know, prostate-specific antigen is acertain type of protein which is secreted by the cells of the prostate. It isone of the most important factors in the dissolution of the seminal fluidcoagulum, so it is also of utmost importance for the fertility. It is usuallyfound in the seminal fluid, but it can also be found in smaller amounts in theserum. Rising levels of PSA in the serum commonly indicate that there is somethingwrong with the overall health of the prostate. One of the most common causes ofincreased levels of prostate-specific antigen is acute bacterial prostatitis,which is the medicinal term for acute cases of inflammatory conditions of theprostate triggered by a bacterial infection. The PSA tests were firstintroduced into clinical practice all the way back in 1986, and since then themeans of diagnosing and managing the prostate cancer have seen numerousadvanced developments. PSA tests are of utmost importance when it comes toidentifying the potential cases of cancer which may call for the prostatebiopsy to be performed as well. These tests are also very helpful indetermining the progress of the cancer and the response to all the therapymethods. These tests have been very useful in detecting prostate cancer, butthere are still numerous scientific studies which deal with determining whetherthe tests can be of any help in increasing the survival rate of men affected bythe prostate cancer. Before the tests were introduced, doctors had to wait forthe prostate to become quite abnormal before they ask for the biopsy to beperformed. There are still certain medical sources which strongly adviceagainst using the PSA tests for screening purposes in men who are 75 years oldor older. The American Cancer Society is very keen on stressing the importanceof involving the patients in the decision whether to test for prostate canceror not. If left undetected, certain ill effects of the treatment methods forprostate cancer may take place. The most common factors which affect theclinician’s decision whether a patient should undergo a PSA test include thepatient’s own request for the test, physical examination findings, generalmedical condition, expected longevity, family history of the condition,symptoms and age.
Level of PSA in the Blood
A test called prostate-specific antigen test is designed tomeasure the amounts of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. This protein isreleased into the blood by the prostate gland. It is a widely known fact that menwho are otherwise healthy have relatively low amounts of prostate-specificantigen in the blood. As a man ages, his prostate commonly gets enlarged, sothe amounts of prostate-specific antigen in the blood also get increased. Thereare different factors which may lead to the increased amounts ofprostate-specific antigen in the blood such as the inflammation of the prostategland or even prostate cancer. The levels may also be briefly increased bysexual activity, a digital rectal exam or some kind of injury. There arenumerous cases of prostate cancer in which it grows gradually and slowlywithout causing any apparent problems. It is of utmost importance to detect,diagnose and treat the prostate cancer in order to reduce the risk of numeroushealth problems and ultimately death. Unfortunately, some treatment methodscommonly related to the prostate cancer may lead to the development of certainother medical conditions such as erection problems or urinary incontinence.
Importance of PSA Test
There are certain goals associated with PSA tests. The maingoal is to screen the patient for prostate cancer. In most cases, the tests areperformed on men who are older than 50 and those who are at an increased riskof prostate cancer. Those men usually have a family history of prostate canceror are African-American. There are also several other medical condition whichcan cause the elevation of the levels of PSA in the blood, such as theinflammation of the prostate gland or benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is whya prostate biopsy needs to be performed in order to confirm the prostatecancer. When the results from other tests such as the digital rectal exam arenormal, the PSA test usually needs to be done in order to determine thepresence of the prostate cancer. The PSA tests can also be used for theperiodic checks of the prostate cancer during the treatment period. If thetests show that the levels of PSA are rising, that may mean that the cancer isspreading or growing. In men whose prostate gland is removed it is not normalto detect any presence of the PSA. If the PSA is still present in such cases,that may mean that the cancer has either returned or spread.