A recent Mayo Clinic article http://www.mayoclinic.org *pointed out the benefits and limitations of the PSA test.
“Benefits of the test. A PSA test may help detect prostate cancer at an early stage. Cancer is easier to treat and is more likely to be cured if it's diagnosed in its early stages. But to judge the benefit of the test, it's important to know if early detection and early treatment will improve treatment outcomes and decrease the number of deaths from prostate cancer. A key issue is the typical course of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually progresses slowly over many years. Therefore, a man may have prostate cancer that never causes symptoms or becomes a medical problem during his lifetime.
Limitations of the test. PSA-raising factors. Besides cancer, other conditions that can raise PSA levels include an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) and an inflamed or infected prostate (prostatitis). Also, PSA levels normally increase with age.
It is always a good idea to talk to your primary care practitioner, the clinician who knows you best, about the pros and cons of diagnostic tests.
*to learn more about PSA-lowering factors, Misleading results and Overdiagnosis read the full Mayo Clinic article “PSA test: Benefits and limitations” highlight and click on open hyperlink http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psa-test/in-depth/psa-test-benefits-and-limitations/art-20090540/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=housecall&pubDate=04/03/2014
Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.