Prostate Cancer Screening – Other Causes of Elevated PSA Levels
PSA means prostate Specific antigen. It is an enzyme or protein-like substance produced by the prostate gland and can be traced inside the blood stream. The presence of this enzyme in the blood stream is an indication that the person has cancer of the prostate. In other words, PSA test is applied to screen men for prostate cancer. In most cases, an elevated level of more than 10ng/ml is considered a red flag for prostate cancer.
However, it should be noted that elevated levels of PSA is not only an indication that the person could be suffering from prostate cancer but there are yet other causes of elevated PSA levels. These other causes are discussed below.
- Prostatitis – This is a condition that causes inflammation on the prostate gland. Usually, infections and other unclear factors can cause this inflammation. A person suffering from Prostatitis can be diagnosed with high levels of PSA. This is more especially if the person has chronic Prostatitis.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) – This condition is often described as enlarged prostate. Most men who are more than 50years of age are diagnosed with this condition.BPH is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate gland, hence the prostate can swell but does not spread like prostate cancer. The PSA levels of those with BPH can rise just as for people diagnosed with cancer in the prostate.
- Recent Ejaculation – The passing out of semen from the penis during sexual intercourse or otherwise is referred to as ejaculation. However, this habit can spike the level of prostate Specific Antigen or PSA. When going for a prostate cancer test, the man could be advised by the doctor to avoid sexual activity of any act that may lead to ejaculation a few days before his blood sample is taken for PSA test.
- Biopsy and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) – These are other types of tests that can spike the level of prostate Specific Antigen in the blood. Biopsy involves the taking of tissue samples of the prostate to be examined under the microscope. In most cases, this procedure artificially elevates the PSA level. This is more likely to occur if biopsy is conducted a few days before PSA test. Also, Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) conducted before PSA test can spike the level of PSA in the blood. Thus, to avoid false positives in prostate cancer screening, the PSA test is better conducted several days before biopsy or DRE.
- Finally, another factor that can cause elevated PSA in the blood is the bicycle riding. A study published in the Journal of Urology linked bicycle riding with PSA test. It was reported that strenuous bicycle riding can spike up the PSA level on a short term.
So, these are some of the other factors that can elevate the level of the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the body. With this understanding, it is important to note that increase in your PSA level may not necessarily mean you would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Your doctor can carry out other diagnostic methods to complement PSA blood levels to truly diagnose or screen cancer in your prostate.
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