Prostate Screening (PSA)Measure the level of PSA in your blood, which can increase due to prostate cancer or other noncancerous prostate conditions. Read more
How it works
There are several reasons why PSA levels may be higher than normal:
- Age: As men get older, their PSA levels tend to rise
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): In some men, the prostate grows bigger and produces more PSA than usual due to its larger size
- Medications: Some medications, such as finasteride and some cholesterol-lowering medications, can alter your PSA level. Be sure to tell your provider about any medications you are taking before your PSA test
- Prostate cancer: In a healthy prostate, PSA is secreted in small amounts into the bloodstream, but levels can increase as cancer develops
- Prostatitis: Prostatitis is a painful condition in which the prostate is inflamed, swollen, and tender. It is often caused by a bacterial infection, though sometimes the cause is unknown. In some cases, PSA level may increase because of irritation of the prostate
- Urinary tract infection: An infection in the urinary system can irritate the prostate and cause inflammation. This can cause the prostate to make more PSA
The American Cancer Society (ASC) encourages men to have a discussion with a healthcare provider about whether prostate cancer screening is appropriate for them.1 For those who choose to have prostate cancer screening, the ACS recommends the PSA blood test for individuals in the following risk categories:
- Men 50 years of age with an average risk of developing prostate cancer and no underlying health conditions that may reduce life expectancy
- Men 45 years of age with a high risk of developing prostate cancer, including African American men and those with an immediate family member who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65
- Men 40 years of age with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, such as individuals with multiple immediate family members with prostate cancer who were diagnosed at an early age
Prostate cancer screening is not recommended for men who do not meet these criteria. Speak with your primary care provider to better understand your own risk.
1Who Is at Risk for Prostate Cancer? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 25, 2022.
2American Cancer Society Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Early Detection. April 23, 2021.