PSA Testing Do-Overs Recommended

According to a recent Canadian study, if your doctor suspects you may have prostate cancer because of an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, you might want to ask for a repeat PSA test to confirm the results. It could save you from undergoing an unnecessary prostate biopsy that could entail serious complications. Of 1,268 men who underwent a second PSA test within three months of their first test showing elevated PSA levels, 315 (24.8 percent) had normal results the second time around. As a result of their finding, the researchers recommend that men with elevated PSA levels should repeat the test before undergoing a biopsy. The American Urological Association echoes this recommendation. Elevated PSA levels may result from infection, physical activity or sexual activity. Other studies revealed that only 16 to 56 percent of primary care physicians ordered a repeat test for patients with abnormal PSA results. Most experts agree that PSA screening should be used in conjunction with a digital rectal examination, and additional information such as family history, race, and age to assess the likelihood of prostate cancer being present. The information presented here came from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, published online in December, 2015 and re-printed in HealthAfter50, Scientific American Consumer Health.

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