Not many people know what a PSA test is.
It’s nothing to do with software but probably important to a large number of software folk.
What is a PSA test?
A PSA test is a blood test for screening for prostate cancer. It measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
Why does your PSA level matter?
- Your PSA level can give an early indication of prostate cancer.
- Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men.
- Black men face even higher risk.
- Over 50s face even higher risk.
- If your brother, father, uncle, grandfather had it, your risk is higher.
Why have a PSA test?
Prostate cancer can be life-threatening but, the earlier you discover it, the better the likely outcome.
- Having a high PSA level does not automatically mean you have prostate cancer.
- A benign enlarged prostate, bacterial infections, ageing, surgical procedures, can all cause an increased level of PSA in the blood.
- A PSA test can indicate you may need to have further tests for prostate cancer.
The earlier you catch it, the better.
Why shouldn’t you have a PSA test?
You probably shouldn’t have a PSA test. You should have PSA tests.
- A single test may indicate that your PSA level is high and should be investigated.
- A regular annual test allows you and your doctor to establish a base PSA level and if your level starts rising over time. It can be a very effective way of catching it early.
Just ask my dad.
Getting a PSA test
I had one recently. The nurse that did mine said she was amazed they weren’t done as part of the normal set of tests for blood glucose, liver function, cholesterol etc. She wished they were. Her brother had died of prostate cancer a few years ago.
- A PSA test is simple to do at the same time as any other blood tests you may have at a doctor surgery or health clinic. (In the UK, they’re available on the NHS. In the US they’re ‘relatively’ cheap – from $20).
- Even if you’re not inspired/moved/driven/scared into booking a test now, bear it in mind.
- Next time you’re at the doctor and have to have blood tests, ask them to do a PSA too.
- Tell people you think should know.