PSA: A controversial but useful test
- Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapies
August 2nd 2006
With the advent of the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test two
decades ago, the screening for and detecting of prostate cancer in the
United States has been revolutionized.
PSA is a protein manufactured in the prostate. There is an association
between the PSA level and the likelihood of the man having prostate
Previously, the only screening test for prostate cancer was a digital
rectal exam. That meant a physician inserted his or her gloved finger
into the manís rectum to determine if he or she felt any lumps or bumps
in the prostate gland. By that point, the cancer was relatively far
advanced. Fortunately, PSA blood tests can detect a prostate malignancy
at a much earlier stage. This is known as a stage shift.
When is a PSA level elevation significant?