Get Your PSA Level Checked
Here is an easy to understand overview of what PSA is.
The Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein that is only manufactured in the prostate gland. Prostate cells leak PSA into the blood stream and its level can be measured in a simple blood test. Although prostate cancer cells contain less PSA than healthy prostate cells, they tend to leak more of their PSA into the bloodstream. An annual PSA test is the best way to monitor what your levels are, and to see if they are rising and at what rate.
If you have a history of prostate cancer in your family – a sibling, father, grandfather, uncles – your risk of getting prostate cancer is greater than normal and you need to start your PSA testing earlier than other guys, by age 40.
For guys 50 and older, the PSA test should be an annual item on your health check list no matter what your family history. The first test you have will provide a base line to which future tests can be compared.
The PSA blood test is easy and inexpensive.
Some tips: don’t ejaculate or even “edge” around with masturbation for at least 48 hrs prior to the blood draw or your PSA level will be higher than it normally runs.
If you suspect you have a prostate or urethral infection, tell your doctor prior to the blood draw. These conditions result in higher than normal PSA levels.
Make sure you have the blood draw prior to any digital rectal exam your doctor may wish to perform as part of your physical exam. Digital agitation of the prostate increases PSA blood levels.
Don’t panic if you do come up with a higher than normal reading. My own PSA was “red flag” high a year ago. Today it is below normal for my age group.
Also, read Sunny’s fine review of prostate and testicular cancer here: