Prostate problems and PSA test   Leave a comment

If you’re reading this you are probably already aware of the early signs of prostate problems: having trouble urinating and having to get up in the night to pee several times.  When you have eventually had enough of these inconveniences, and you begin to realise you should have gone to the doctor much sooner,  you visit your GP and he/she gives you a rectal examination to feel around the prostate to sense any physical abnormalities or inordinate increase in size, and arranges for you to have a blood test.

Research on this subject has been going on for a long time – the reason for the prostate to grow, most commonly in older men, remains a mystery.  But a long-established fact is that when there’s something unusual going on in the prostate the level of PSA released into the bloodstream increases.  Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced in the prostate gland and released into the blood stream in tiny amounts.  It’s when the level of this protein rises significantly that it can indicate a problem.  However, the PSA test has been proved to be fairly unreliable.

In today’s headlines a new approach, by taking measurements from a urine sample, indicates a far simpler and speedier test result.  But, arguably, it will remain just as unreliable.  What they don’t tell you, and will always apply, no matter which way they measure it, is that if you have ejaculated within 48 hours before taking the test you can expect your PSA count to be higher than normal.  So, if you are due for a blood test – or any other test to measure PSA – save ejaculating for a later date!

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