March 23, 2019

My PSA is higher. Can the labs be wrong?

PSA is produced by healthy cells in the prostate. This is why it’s normal to find a small amount of PSA in your blood. A PSA test measures this amount from a simple blood test, which is then analyzed in a laboratory. Quantities that are normal will vary depending on your age at screening time, your racial origins or your treatment if you have had prostate cancer. We will focus more specifically on screening in this article.

Normally, test results from laboratories are quite accurate and are representative of the state of health of your prostate. We still recommend that you always run your tests in the same place at the same time.

What can affect my PSA level?

You should know that a higher than normal PSA level doesn’t necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. The following can cause your PSA to rise.

  • An enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). PSA level rises as the prostate gets bigger. More prostate cells = more PSA being secreted = higher PSA
  • A prostatitis. Treatment will be prescribed, and you will need to wait until the inflammation disappears, before retaking a PSA test.
  • A urinary tract infection. Treatment will be prescribed, and you will need to wait four to six weeks, the time it takes for the infection to clear up, before retaking a PSA test.
  • A prostate biopsy in the six weeks before a PSA test.
  • A procedure or an operation on the bladder or prostate, or the use of a catheter. It is better to wait up to six weeks after such a procedure before having a PSA test.
  • A sexual activity that includes an ejaculation in the 48 hours before a PSA test.
  • A vigorous exercise, such as biking, in the 48 hours - or a week if you are cycling long distances - before a PSA test.
  • Anal sex or prostate stimulation. It is better to avoid these activities and wait a week before a PSA test.
  • Warmer climates can also impact your PSA level

You should also let your doctor know what medication you are taking as some medication can affect your PSA level. A DRE just before a PSA test does not impact results.

You have questions or concerns? Contact us at 1 855 899-2872 to discuss them with one of our nurses specialized in uro-oncology.

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