The PSA test!
Many men have heard of the PSA test - a simple blood test for prostate cancer.
The PSA test measures a substance that is produced by the prostate gland - the prostate specific antigen (PSA)
There are a number of reasons why this level may be elevated. They can include
Benign conditions of the prostate
Therefore don't panic if your PSA test comes back elevated! It doesn't necessarily mean that you have cancer! 7/10 Elevated PSA tests are FALSE Positives!
Should you have a PSA test done? A false positive test may result in further medical investigations/testing, which can lead to complications. If you have prostate cancer - treatments may be invasive and give little benefit. Prostate cancer can be very slow growing, and many men will remain healthy despite a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, some prostate cancers can be fatal - spreading to other areas of the body.
Science is on the fence as to the benefit of this blood test - Canadian authorities are no longer recommending this test as a routine screening tool.
PSA tests are covered in Ontario for men that have a family history of prostate cancer, or are suspected of having prostate cancer.
If you think that you should be screened for prostate cancer using the PSA blood test speak to your primary healthcare physician. They can help you decide whether the benefits of being screened outweigh the risks of this test!
Thanks for reading
Dr Kendra Clifford ND