Here's How a Simple Blood Test Can Tell You A Lot About Your Health

Have you been screened for prostate cancer? If you’re male, prostate cancer screenings should become part of your routine health care as you get older.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting men, and about 1 in 8 men receives a diagnosis in his lifetime. 

The good news is that it’s very treatable when it’s identified early — that’s why routine screenings are so important. You might have heard about digital prostate exams, but that’s not the only way to assess your risk.

Our team at Advanced Urology specializes in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer at our offices in Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, and Culver City, California. PSA testing is a quick, simple blood test that can help identify prostate cancer. 

How PSA testing works

Your prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located under your bladder. Its main purpose is to create semen, the fluid that transports sperm. Along with semen, it creates a specialized protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

Healthy tissue naturally makes PSA, but cancerous tissue also makes PSA. PSA is found in semen, and small amounts of PSA are also found in your blood.

PSA testing is a type of blood test to evaluate PSA levels in your blood. Higher PSA levels could indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but the cutoff levels vary, and it’s generally used as an early screening tool.

Your Advanced Urology practitioner may recommend PSA testing during your routine physical exam. If you choose to get this screening, we take a small sample of blood from your arm. We send the blood to a lab for evaluation.

PSA is measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), and there’s a range that’s considered healthy. Most men who don’t have prostate cancer have PSA levels under 4 ng/mL. Your chance of having prostate cancer increases if your PSA level is between 4-10 ng/mL. 

If your PSA level is higher than 10 ng/mL, your chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%. It’s important to note that other, noncancerous health conditions could also lead to elevated PSA. If your PSA testing results are abnormal, our team typically recommends additional testing to confirm a diagnosis.

When to get prostate cancer screenings

Prostate cancer is very common. It doesn’t have obvious warning signs, and your risk increases as you get older. To protect your health, our team works with you to develop a preventive care plan that fits your needs.

Most men should start getting prostate exams around age 50. Certain factors could increase your risk, and you may need to start getting screenings earlier than age 50 if you are Black or if you have a family history of prostate cancer.

Since PSA testing only requires a quick blood draw, it’s typically the first screening we recommend to test for prostate cancer. If your PSA is elevated, we may recommend a digital exam or prostate biopsy to reach a diagnosis.

Not every case of prostate cancer needs immediate treatment. Depending on your results, your specialist might recommend watchful waiting, radiation therapy, or surgery.

PSA testing could give you life-saving insight into your health. To find out if you could benefit from this simple blood test, call our team at Advanced Urology or book an appointment online.

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