How Are Researchers Trying To Improve The Psa Test
Scientists are investigating ways to improve the PSA test to give doctors the ability to better distinguish cancerous from benign conditions and slow-growing cancers from fast-growing, potentially lethal cancers. None has been proven to decrease the risk of death from prostate cancer. Some of the methods being studied include:
Psa Blood Test Fasting
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What Is Psa Blood Test Preparation And Normal Ranges For Psa Blood Test
Have you ever wondered what the PSA blood test meant after reading your doctors prescription? I am sure there are quite a few who would like to know more about the test especially its name and what it meant. There are some tests that you should definitely opt for once you have crossed 50 years of age, especially men. Cancer, especially prostate cancer has the highest number of cases each year and its been rising steadily each year.
According to the Cancer India Organization, the prostate is among the top 10 areas of cancer in India based on Globocan 2012. It is the second-leading type of cancer among men in cities like Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, and Thiruvananthapuram, while it is the third leading cause of cancer in Mumbai and Bengaluru. The rates of incidence for this cancer are increasing every day and are projected to double by the year 2020.
The survival rate of patients in India varies with age, though the average 5-year survival rate is 64 percent. For patients below 55 years of age, it is 55 percent, those between 60-69 years is 74 percent and for patients above 70 years it falls down to 52 percent. Prostate cancer that is detected early when it is still in the prostate gland, has better chances of being treated successfully.
Lets understand the PSA test better.
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Experts Don’t Agree On When To Start
Men should be offered tests at 40, according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Urological Association. The American Cancer Society says men should discuss it with their doc at 50 . Draft guidelines from the
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force say men shouldn’t get a PSA test unless they have prostate-cancer symptoms. That may be too late, says James Mohler, MD, a professor of oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, N.Y. “We’d love to have a better test than PSA,” says Dr. Krupski. “We’re working on it.”
Why Do I Need A Psa Test
You may get a PSA test if you have certain risk factors for prostate cancer. These include:
- A father or brother with prostate cancer
- Being African-American. Prostate cancer is more common in African American men. The reason for this is unknown.
- Your age. Prostate cancer is more common in men over the age of 50.
You may also get a PSA test if:
- You have symptoms such as painful or frequent urination, and pelvic and/or back pain.
- You’ve already been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The PSA test can help monitor the effects of your treatment.
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Understanding Psa Test Results
28 August 2020
Medicare data suggests that up to 21% of Australian men aged 4574 choose to have a Prostate Specific Antigen Test each year, and about 19% of men aged over 74 also undergo testing.
While PSA testing helps to identify men with an increased risk of undiagnosed prostate cancer, and can help to diagnose prostate cancers earlier, it can also produce false positive results, and in some men picks up cancers that are so slow growing that they do not affect a mans life expectancy, a finding known as over-diagnosis. False positives and over-diagnosis can cause harm, which means men and their doctors need to carefully consider the pros and cons of testing, based on each mans age and other individual characteristics.
For men with no family history of prostate cancer and no symptoms, the current guidelines recommend that men who decide to undergo regular testing should be offered PSA testing every two years from age 50 to 69.
For men with a family history of prostate cancer who decide to undergo testing, the guidelines recommend men be offered PSA testing every two years from age 40/45 to 69, with the starting age depending on the strength of their family history.
Learn more here >
What is PSA?
Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein made in the prostate gland. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits below the bladder in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the passage in the penis through which urine and semen pass.
What Not To Do Before A Psa Test
The prostate-specific antigen test, which is used to assess your risk for prostate cancer, can be stressful for some men.
The results of the test can indicate whether you might need to undergo further testing for prostate cancer. While the PSA test is not a perfect test, it is still considered one of the important tests for men over 50, along with a digital rectal examination of the prostate .
You may wonder, What is PSA and should I get a PSA test? While the experts have different recommendations for the PSA test, they all agree that the PSA test is one important tool you can use to monitor your prostate health. You should get the PSA and DRE regularly, especially if you have a family history of prostate cancer.
That being said, there are few activities that can artificially and temporarily increase your PSA level. It is important to know what not to do before a PSA test so that your results will be as accurate as possible and do not cause you to stress over falsely high numbers. In the 48 hours before your PSA test you should NOT:
- Ride a bike, motorcycle or tractor or anything that puts pressure on the prostate region.
- Participate in vigorous exercise that could jostle the prostate area .
- Have a DRE. Schedule your DRE for after you have the PSA test.
- Ejaculate or participate in any sexual activity that involves ejaculation.
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Which Blood Tests Require Fasting
We all have come across some situation in our lives where we are required to undergo blood test either as a part of a normal checkup or if we are unwell. You may notice, that your clinician advice you to visit the laboratory on an empty stomach. Your physician may advise you some hours of fasting before calling you in to draw blood.
Fasting before a test means that you are not supposed to eat or even drink water for about 8-12 hours before your blood test. You are also not allowed to smoke or chew gum.
Why do they ask you to fast? Which are the blood tests require fasting? What happens if I dont fast? and can we take any medications before fasting blood test? These are some questions clinicians always come across. This article will feed your curiosity regarding fasting for blood tests and will give you an insight into which blood tests require fasting and for how long.
What Is A Normal Psa Test Result
There is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA in the blood, and levels may vary over time in the same man. In the past, most doctors considered PSA levels of 4.0 ng/mL and lower as normal. Therefore, if a man had a PSA level above 4.0 ng/mL, doctors would often recommend a prostate biopsy to determine whether prostate cancer was present.
However, more recent studies have shown that some men with PSA levels below 4.0 ng/mL have prostate cancer and that many men with higher levels do not have prostate cancer . In addition, various factors can cause a mans PSA level to fluctuate. For example, a mans PSA level often rises if he has prostatitis or a urinary tract infection. Prostate biopsies and prostate surgery also increase PSA level. Conversely, some drugsincluding finasteride and dutasteride , which are used to treat BPHlower a mans PSA level. PSA level may also vary somewhat across testing laboratories.
Another complicating factor is that studies to establish the normal range of PSA levels have been conducted primarily in populations of White men. Although expert opinions vary, there is no clear consensus regarding the optimal PSA threshold for recommending a prostate biopsy for men of any racial or ethnic group.
In general, however, the higher a mans PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer. Moreover, a continuous rise in a mans PSA level over time may also be a sign of prostate cancer.
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Frequently Asked Questions About The Psa Blood Test
As we grow older, our risk of developing serious health issues, including cancer, also grows. For men, the risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age. Prostate cancer is rare in men under 40, and about 60% of cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older. But in the United States, nearly one of every nine men will be diagnosed with the disease. Thats why doctors recommend screening for prostate cancer beginning at age 45, with a yearly digital rectal exam and PSA blood test.
But what is exactly is a PSA test and what does it measure? When should you consider starting your screening for prostate cancer? Weve compiled answers to these and other frequently asked questions about PSA tests here.
What Is A Prostate
A prostate-specific antigen test measures the level of PSA in your blood. The prostate is a small gland that is part of a man’s reproductive system. It is located below the bladder and makes a fluid that is part of semen. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. Men normally have low PSA levels in their blood. A high PSA level may be a sign of prostate cancer, the most common non-skin cancer affecting American men. But high PSA levels can also mean noncancerous prostate conditions, such as infection or benign prostatic hyperplasia, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate.
Other names: total PSA, free PSA
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What Are Some Tips For Fasting Before Psa Blood Testing
Unless specifically requested by a doctor, fasting is typically not required prior to a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test, according to Lab Tests Online. If fasting is required, patients must consume no food or drinks, except water, for a time period prior to the lab test, explains Quest Diagnostics.
Because it’s easier to draw blood from people who are adequately hydrated, it’s important to drink plenty of water while fasting prior to a blood test, according to Quest Diagnostics. Patients should continue taking all medications during the fasting period, unless otherwise directed by a doctor. When fasting is required, it’s best to schedule the blood test first thing in the morning to minimize the amount of time without food. If desired, patients may bring a snack with them to eat after the blood test is complete.
Although patients usually don’t need to fast before a PSA blood test, other preparation is required, according to Lab Tests Online. Because ejaculation sometimes raises PSA levels, it’s best for patients to avoid ejaculating for 24 hours prior to the blood test. Patients should have a PSA test done before a doctor performs a digital rectal exam and before a prostate biopsy. Patients with a recent prostate biopsy should wait several weeks before having a PSA blood test.
How Is A Psa Test Done
As a simple lab procedure, the PSA test only requires you to provide a blood sample. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be able to have your blood drawn at your providers office, or you may have to go to a lab covered by your plan. If you have questions, consult your insurer. The phlebotomist will take a small vial of blood from a vein in your arm and send it for lab analysis.
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What To Think About
- When combined with a digital rectal examination, the prostate-specific antigen test may increase the chance of finding prostate cancer. To learn more, see the topic Digital Rectal Examination .
- If your PSA level is high, you may need a prostate biopsy. Your doctor will consider:
- Results of your digital rectal examination.
- Results of any PSA tests you have had in the past. If your PSA level gets higher in a short amount of time, follow-up testing may be recommended.
- Your age and health.
- The risks of more tests and treatments.
What About Fasting For A Blood Test During Pregnancy
There are several blood tests you may need if youre pregnant. These are designed to assess any potential health concerns that you or your baby might experience during pregnancy or after you give birth. Some of these tests will require you to fast beforehand. Your doctor will advise you how to prepare for each test.
Fasting is usually safe if youre pregnant, provided youre in good health and arent having a high-risk pregnancy. For your overall comfort, your doctor may advise you to drink extra water or to remain indoors, especially if the weather is very hot or humid.
Fasting may increase heartburn in some pregnant women. If you experience uncomfortable or concerning symptoms of any kind while youre waiting to have your blood drawn, let your doctor know immediately.
If youre seeing a doctor other than your obstetrician-gynecologist, make sure they are made aware of your pregnancy before your blood test.
What Does A Psa Test Do
As mentioned above, a PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen found in a man’s blood. Many factors including prostate cancer can cause someone’s PSA levels to rise. A PSA test is designed as an early detection and monitoring screening tool for prostate cancer.
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Who Performs Psa Testing
A PSA test requires a blood sample that is drawn in a lab. Your primary care provider or a may order the test. You do not need to fast before the PSA blood draw, but you may want to abstain from having sex or ejaculating for a couple of days beforehand. Some studies have correlated ejaculation with a temporary rise in PSA levels.
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There Are Risks To Getting Prostate Cancer Tests And Treatments
If your PSA is not normal, you will probably have a biopsy. The doctor puts a needle through the wall of the rectum and into the prostate to take a few samples. Biopsies can be painful and cause bleeding. Men can get serious infections from biopsies, and they may need hospital care.
Surgery or radiation are the usual treatments for prostate cancer. They can do more harm than good. Treatment can cause serious complications, such as heart attacks, blood clots in the legs or lungs, or even death. In addition, 40 men out of 1,000 will become impotent or incontinent from treatment.
Do I Need The Psa Test
The PSA test is not recommended for men who dont have symptoms of prostate cancer, as it can lead to unnecessary investigations and treatments that have serious side effects.
If you are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer, or if you have symptoms that may indicate cancer, PSA testing may be of more benefit.
Cancer Council Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners both recommend against routine screening in men without symptoms. That is because the PSA test is not very accurate for screening men without symptoms. High PSA levels can be due to many things, and cancer is just one of them. And a man with prostate cancer can have a normal PSA level.
As there is a range of risks and potential benefits of PSA testing, talk to your doctor to help make an informed decision.
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What Happens If You Dont Fast Before Blood Test
Not fasting for a blood test will yield inaccurate results. As mentioned above, as the food is digested and metabolized, the nutrients which enter the bloodstream can interfere with test results.
If you happen to accidentally eat or drink something before a blood test, make sure to inform your clinician about it. In this case, both the clinician makes a note of it and test results are analyzed accordingly or you for better results, an appointment for the blood tests may need to be rescheduled.