PSA/ Prostate specific antigen
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by specific cells of the prostate gland in men. PSA is secreted in the semen to help keep the semen in its liquid form. Normally, the PSA level in blood increases as a man’s prostate enlarges with age, sexual activity (ejaculation), inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis), or prostate cancer. Usually prostate cancer does not generate any clinically visible symptoms so the PSA test helps in early detection of prostate cancer.
The PSA level in blood is measured through a blood test, known as a PSA test that utilizes monoclonal antibody technique. To confirm the presence of prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend additional examinations such as a digital rectal examination (DRE) and transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS).
In addition to providing early diagnosis, PSA levels also help to choose the right treatment option. The PSA test is also used to evaluate effectiveness of treatment procedures and to monitor improvement in the patient’s condition.
In some cases patients may have prostate cancer with a normal PSA level in the blood. Therefore the best way to monitor for early detection of prostate cancer is to have both the PSA test and digital rectal examination (DRE) performed.