The PSA Test

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is produced by the prostate gland. PSA levels in the blood are used as an indicator of prostate health. Elevated levels of PSA in the bloodstream, above 4 ng/mL, indicate there may be cause for concern.

  • 25 percent of men with a PSA level in the borderline range between 4 and 10 ng/mL will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. 
  • Above 10ng/mL, half of men are expected to have prostate cancer. 
  • 15 percent of men with a PSA level below 4 will find they have prostate cancer.

However, there are many reasons that PSA can be elevated and prostate cancer is only one of them. Some of the other factors that can contribute to this are:

  • Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, called benign prostatic hyperplasia 
  • Prostatitis, an infection or inflammation of the prostate 
  • Age 
  • Some medications and herbal preparations can mask high PSA levels.

The PSA test may also be used after a diagnosis of prostate cancer to gauge progression of the disease.