Should you panic about prostate cancer if you learn that your PSA is shockingly high?

Is it at all possible for a man who does not have prostate cancer to have a VERY high PSA?

“Absolutely. Many benign conditions can cause a very elevated PSA, including recent surgeries, trauma or catheterization due to urinary retention,” says Michael Herman, MD, director of urologic oncology at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY.

“The most common benign cause of a very high PSA is a urinary tract infection or prostatitis.

“Also, some people simply have an elevated PSA without prostate cancer. Just because someone has a high PSA does not mean they have prostate cancer, but it does need to be evaluated very carefully.”

PSA stands for prostate specific antigen. High levels are correlated to the likelihood of prostate cancer, but it’s not 100 percent reliable.

This is why a man can have a PSA in the normal range and still be diagnosed with the disease.

IsoPSA More Accurate in Detecting Prostate Cancer than PSA

Prostate cancer. Creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Wikimedia Commons

A study in the April 2017 online European Urology says that IsoPSA may reduce the need for biopsies by up to 50 percent.

However, this was a smalls study and more investigation is needed. But it’s certainly something to be hopeful about, being that PSA alone results in unnecessary biopsies.

If you’re worried about a very high PSA, you should know the symptoms of prostate cancer. In fact, all men should familiarize themselves with these symptoms.

  • Trouble with urination; thin urine stream.
  • Blood in the semen.
  • Pelvic discomfort.
  • Erectile dysfunction.

Facts About Prostate Cancer You Might Not Know

• Though 71.5 percent of U.S. men who are diagnosed with this disease are between the age of 55 and 74, 3.9 percent are over 84.

• Half a percent of the diagnoses are in men 35 to 44.

• Obesity is a risk factor.

• An immediate family member with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (a big risk factor for breast cancer) is believed to mean a higher risk for prostate cancer.

• PSA testing is not an effective screening tool.

dr. herman
Dr. Herman’s interests include reducing the over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancer by utilizing the latest biomarkers and imaging techniques. He is at the forefront of treatment and research of urologic cancers.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 

.

Top image: Shutterstock/Sherry Yates Young