What PSA Test Levels Mean to You

By: Leonard Z Sennish

Question: My PSA test levels over the last three years have been 2.5ng/mL or under. I just turned 46 and have been informed that there is nothing to worry about at these levels. Is that right? Is a reading under 4 still thought to be good enough?
For starters it's good you're getting the PSA test and getting some history in your medical file. Some never seem to get to this until it is way too late.
Overall it's best to start with this at about age 41 or 42. You know, early 40s and getting the screening yearly? By getting started at a younger age you likely don't have BPH which can screw up the numbers giving you harder to interpret results.
Frankly given the state of prostate treatment today, some say it's insane not to go in for annual screenings and exams. Still too many put it off or ignore the possibility of problems developing. Counting on symptoms to alert them the time is right to act. When an abnormal PSA test could signal the alarm much sooner and better.
And you are right. When it comes to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) results it's generally felt that lower is better.
And yes yet again you understand correctly that a PSA level of 4 or lower is a decent score. As long as you have regular rectal exams and they too are normal.
Now when it comes to PSA test results one should also take into consideration their weight, race and overall health as these are additional risk factors that shouldn't be ignored.
Yet this isn't a perfect gauge as some are quick to point out. But the numbers are still a good yardstick for measuring your cancer risk.
That's not to say those naysayers aren't right. They are. There are a few other conditions that can affect PSA numbers - prostate infection or inflammation being two that can cause the results to rise to what would be considered elevated levels. Just like any other test you can also get false positives from PSA testing too.
Just so you know the only way to absolutely identify prostate cancer is with a biopsy of the gland itself. Regardless the one two punch of PSA blood tests and rectal exams can save your life.
Reason being if prostate cancer is caught early enough, such as before it has spread beyond the prostate gland itself, the five year survival rate is 100% according to American Cancer Society stats. Which seems to me is a good enough reason get to your PSA scores regularly.

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Want to know more about normal PSA levels or what's a good reading for a PSA test, then stop by the popular site ProblemProstate.com - a site for men looking for answers to questions about their prostate.

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