Prostate Cancer

« Symptoms & Diagnosis »

PSA Test Is Not Perfect–But It Is Helpful

The PSA test is a simple blood test that’s used to screen for prostate cancer and also to track a patient’s response to treatment. PSA, or protein-specific antigen, is the name of a protein secreted by the prostate gland. Men have a small amount of PSA in their blood all the time but large amounts may signal that something is brewing. When cancer cells grow,  PSA spills into the blood.

Keep in mind that an elevated PSA test does not always mean you have prostate cancer. It can simply reflect that your prostate is enlarged–which is quite common–or it could signal an infection or inflammation. In fact, that’s one of the controversial aspects of the PSA test–high levels may lead to over-treatment in men who are more likely to die from something else.

Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.