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9 Things You Must Know About Prostate Specific Antigen by Jessica Lang

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As each day passes doctors, and scientists are making progress in detecting different cancers that are found within the human body. If detected early, some cancers can be cured if treated properly. One type of cancer that science has made curable is Prostate cancer; which is cancer located in a male’s prostate gland. The prostate releases an enzyme that can help determine if an individual has prostate cancer; this glycoprotein enzyme is known as Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA).

  1. PSA is produced by the epithelial cells located in the prostate gland. PSA is secreted during ejaculation to help liquefy semen; this liquefaction allows sperm to swim. The majority of PSA is transported out of the body as semen, however, low amounts can be found in the blood.
  2. If semen remained coagulated (i.e. stayed very viscous/thick) then the sperm would not be free to swim to reach the egg, which is necessary for fertilization to occur.
  3. A PSA test is a blood test that can be done to determine if a man has prostate cancer; the technology required to detect this is known as the Monoclonal antibody technique. A healthy male will have a very low number of PSA in the body. If high levels of PSA are present in a blood sample, this is an indication of Prostate Cancer.
  4. The PSA blood level test was approved in 1986 by the FDA; this test was initially designed to help monitor prostate cancer in pre-diagnosed males.
  5.  PSA can travel through the body in two different ways. This protein can move freely without any attachments, being referred to as a free PSA; or bound to other substances making it a complex PSA. Both forms of PSA are added together to determine the total amount that is located in the blood.
  6. Studies have shown that PSA levels are affected by age. As a male age, the prostate increases in size, in turn causing PSA levels to increase. The rise in PSA is why prostate cancer is more prominent in men above the age of 65.
  7. PSA level is not only affected by old age but can also be affected by race. Studies have shown that African Americans have a higher probability of increased PSA levels than that of Caucasians or Asians. Family history also plays an imperative role in levels of PSA, and Prostate cancer.
  8. A man’s PSA level can rise due to a urinary tract infection, or prostatitis; however, no evidence has proven that prostatitis leads to cancer. This is an example of why in some cases PSA screening can be more harmful than helpful, due to the radiation that it gives off.
  9. It is important to know when to take a PSA test. If the levels of PSA are high, other tests, such as a prostate biopsy can be conducted for further examination. Other tests are done because someone with a high PSA does not necessarily have cancer, but could have other risk factors.


The outlook on PSA screening and its significance has changed throughout the years. The more that doctors are learning about the pros, and cons of screening, the more they press the importance of procedure awareness, due to radiation exposure. Scientists are currently working on improving PSA screening so that doctors can more accurately diagnose cancerous conditions.



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Thompson, IM. “National Cancer Institute.” Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. National Cancer Institute, 24 July 2012. Web. 09 Dec. 2013

Staff, Mayo Clinic. “PSA Test.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and  Research, 07 May 2013. Web. 09 Dec. 2013

Zorn, Kevin C. “Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test, Values, Range, Screening, Free PSA, Total PSA .” MedicineNet Inc., 09 Dec. 2013.

Stenman, Ulf-Hakan, Jari Leinonen, Wan-Ming Zhang, and Patrik Finne. “Prostate-specific Antigen.” Prostate-specific Antigen. Science Direct, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.


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