The PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test is used as a common indicator of prostate cancer. When PSA levels reach 4 ng per mL or more, the incidence of cancer is increased. A high PSA test result is often followed by biopsy and other screening methods to clinically support the result. However it is important to know that increased PSA levels do not always relate to cancer. Any change to the cellular structure of the gland may cause high variations in the protein. It is important for men to understand the possible reasons that could cause the elevation before they undergo any invasive diagnostic tests.
Read on to find about four common situations when PSA levels in men increase drastically.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Bacterial infections in the urinary tract are common. This results in the inflammation of the prostate cells thus gearing up the PSA level to above 10 ng per mL. UTI can be treated with antibiotics and studies show that it may take over 6 months for the PSA level to settle down.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
A research by the American Urological Association indicates that over 50% of men who have crossed 60 years of age suffer from BPH. The condition results in enlargement of the prostate gland and increased pressure on the urethra. It is also the most common reason behind increase in PSA levels and can take the count almost 3 times higher. PSA tests during BPH treatment are therefore not recommended.
Clinical Procedures and Medications
Painful medical procedures around the prostate gland can also cause high PSA. If you have recently been subjected to treatments such as a biopsy, digital rectal exam, placing of a catheter or any bladder related examinations, the chances of high PSA is common. Doctors generally recommend a gap of 3-4 days for the cell structure to settle down before the test is taken. Medications on the other hand are found to considerably lower PSA levels. Drugs that treat prostate enlargement and urine retention are generally observed to show these side effects.
Men with no abnormalities in the prostate gland can still see their PSA level elevate with age. Up to 40 years of age, the count is standard and may vary between 2-3.5 ng / mL depending upon lifestyle and ethnicity. After this, the protein begins to increase in count and may reach 7 ng / mL at the age of 60. The author of this article is an experienced writer who always discusses about prostate cancer treatment and related issues.
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