Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

PSA Test Is Recommended Only for Men of Certain Age

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

PSA Test Is Recommended Only for Men of Certain Age

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: I've heard so many conflicting opinions about whether or not to get screened for prostate cancer. Are there official guidelines? What do they recommend?

Dear Reader: The two ways to screen for prostate cancer are the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA levels rise when the prostate has turned cancerous, but they also rise when the prostate is just irritated or damaged.

But there's a catch. Because other prostate conditions besides cancer can raise the blood levels of PSA, an elevated PSA does not always mean a man has cancer. We call a high blood level of PSA in a man without prostate cancer a "false positive" result.

False positive results can cause needless worry. And they may lead to invasive procedures, such as biopsies, to determine if cancer is present. …

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