A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can be used to provide you with information about whether you may be a risk of prostate cancer.
What is PSA?
PSA is a protein found in the prostate. When there is a problem with the prostate, such as cancer, the PSA can leak out in to the bloodstream. PSA can also be detected when a person does not have cancer.
What is a PSA test?
For the pharmacy PSA test you will supply a nger-prick blood sample and the pharmacist will test to see if there is PSA present in the blood. The test costs £10.99 and is available in all Dears Pharmacies.
Who can have a PSA test?
Men over the age of 50 years.
Some men are a greater risk of prostate cancer and may be more inclined to get their PSA tested. This includes:
- Black men
- Overweight or obese men
- Men with a family history of prostate cancer
- Men with a family history of breast cancer in close female relatives, particularly if the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene were involved
How do I prepare for the PSA test?
To have a PSA test you should not have:
- A current urine infection
- Ejaculated in the last 48 hours
- Heavily exercised in the last 48 hours
- Had a prostate biopsy in the last six weeks
Making an informed choice
- If you’re considering having a PSA test you should make sure you are aware of the benefits or having the test and any risks or limitations associate with the test.
- Benefits, limitations and risks of having a PSA test for prostate cancer:
- Cancer may be detected before symptoms develop
- Cancer may be detected at an early stage when it could be cured or treatment given that extends life
- Repeat tests may provide valuable information, adding a prostate cancer diagnosis
The test is not diagnostic – other tests will be needed to confirm the presence of cancer
- The detection of PSA may not mean you have cancer, other conditions can be identified by the presence of PSA
- Medicines and obesity may affect results
- False-positive results are possible
- A PSA test showing low levels of PSA may provide false reassurance
- The test may lead to the detection of cancer that would never have caused a problem for you during your life
- The test does not distinguish between quickly developing and slowly developing cancers
Symptoms of prostate cancer
- Having to wee more frequently, often at night
- Rushing to the toilet
- Difficulty in starting to wee
- Straining or taking a long time when weeing
- Weak flow
- Feeling like the bladder is not fully empty
What will happen in the pharmacy PSA test?
A sample of blood will be taken from your finger and put on to the testing device. After ten
minutes the test will tell you whether PSA is present in your blood or not.
Will the pharmacy PSA test tell me if I have prostate cancer?
No. The pharmacy test does not diagnose prostate cancer. The pharmacy test detects the presence of PSA in the blood. PSA can be present when a person has prostate cancer, or could indicate other conditions.
What will happen if PSA is detected in my blood?
If PSA is detected during the test the pharmacist will refer you to your GP for further investigation.
What will happen if PSA is not detected in my blood?
If PSA is not detected in your blood there is no reason to visit your GP unless you have any symptoms of concern. In this case you could have another pharmacy PSA test 12 months later to check there has been no change in your PSA levels.
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