What Rising PSA Scores Mean

By Leonard Z Sennish

How's your PSA? How rapidly is it rising? Questions like these become a fact of life as the years pass. Yet for some the answers can be a cause of concern when their PSA score is on the rise.

As you might know it's a good idea to start getting the PSA test done once you reach a certain age. You're looking to see where the amount of prostate-specific antigen in your blood stands. This diagnostic tool is pretty much the gold standard for getting a heads up when it comes to prostate cancer. Yet it's not without caveats.

One being natural PSA variability. As you'd expect like many of the other things going in your body the level of PSA can vary naturally. So it's not at all uncommon for your PSA results to bounce around a bit.

What causes this? Actually there could be a number of causes that could trigger the PSA change. Most of them completely unrelated to prostate cancer. For example an infection of your prostate gland could be behind the rise. If your test was done during the summer, when PSA readings have been found to be higher, well that could be the cause.

Why does this matter? Two words. PSA Velocity.

PSA Velocity Defined: The rate at which your PSA levels are rising over time. That faster the increase the greater the need to find out the reason behind it.

You see, how much change you're getting from test to test is an indicator. Taken in conjunction with a given PSA score and any score over 4.0 shouldn't be ignored, well, this tells you whether further investigation is warranted. Because PSA levels that jump rapidly are a sign of possible problems.

What should you do?

Hard as it may be don't panic. Even though easier said than done don't let your feelings get ahead of the facts. Because there could be any number of causes for an unusually high PSA score. Most of which have absolutely nothing to do with cancer. So there's no need to get worked up over one result.

Next thing would be to repeat the test to confirm the results of the first one.

Assuming this second test confirms the first, it's likely a biopsy would then be scheduled. If it doesn't then were talking a no harm no foul kind of thing.

Still by and large a single change in your PSA score is no reason to jump to conclusions. Take things a step at a time and don't get ahead of the results. Follow a course of confirming tests will likely reveal the cause behind the rising PSA. - 30540

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