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PSA: What Does It Mean?

PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme produced naturally by a healthy prostate gland. It is found in high concentration in semen where it acts to liquefy the seminal fluid after ejaculation so that sperm can swim freely.

Some PSA seeps into the blood stream from prostatic cells, which is why it can be found with a blood test. In the presence of prostate disease such as infection, enlargement called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or cancer, there might be more PSA produced. Thus PSA has become a "marker" to help determine the possible presence of prostate cancer.

However, since a rise in PSA can be from these and other factors, it does NOT guarantee the presence of cancer. Nor does a low PSA mean there is no cancer. Only a biopsy can determine the presence of prostate cancer.

The following material is presented to help you understand PSA so you can better discuss it with your physician.

 *   Questions & Answers about PSA
From the National Cancer Institute

 *   Questions & Answers about PSA
From the American Foundation for Urologic Diseases

 *   Understanding PSA
From the Johns Hopkins Prostate Bulletin

 *   Free PSA may measure aggressiveness
From the National Cancer Institute (1997 release)

 *   Ejaculation before PSA test can give false (higher) reading
Study published in Urology 1997

 *   What Happens if PSA comes back after surgery?
From the Brady Urological Institute

 *   Elevated PSA Following an RP?
From Medscape

 *   The Controversy Over PSA
Ralph Valle's essay on PSA

 *   ''The DRE & PSA Test Demonstrated''
A 5-minute video. Access it via the P5 Video Menu.

 *   Free PSA Test Separates Benign from Malignant Prostate
From the UniSci site

At other sites:

 *   Day to Day PSA Variations
Terry Herbert had his PSA taken for 30 consecutive days and watched a 33% increase and THEN a 33% decrease, prompting questions if PSA has a monthly cycle. See the graph.

 *   Variances in PSA Results
There are other reasons for variations in PSA. See this report at Don Cooley's site.


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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.