Urology

Why is my PSA level high

April 20, 2021
Mature men at his cottage resting on porch with his dog.

If you’re a man over 50, your doctor may have recommended that you get a PSA test. 

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a routine blood test used to check PSA levels. A high PSA score can indicate a benign condition, or it could signify prostate cancer. 

“We encourage our male patients over the age of 50 to get an annual PSA screening,” says Ostap Dovirak, M.D., a urologist with Riverside Urology Specialists. “A simple blood test can help rule out prostate cancer.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 out of every 100 American men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime. The highest risk factor for prostate cancer is advancing age. 

A high PSA level does not necessarily mean cancer. As men grow older, prostate, a gland located in the pelvis, can increase in size. Prostate enlargement can cause worsening urinary symptoms, including urgency, frequency and slowing of the stream. Many men can also, develop prostate inflammation, commonly referred to as prostatitis. These symptoms, although worrisome do not necessarily mean malignancy.

Symptoms of prostate cancer 

Prostate cancer screenings are beneficial and usually recommended for men between the ages of 55-69. Prostate cancer can be slow-growing and many men do not have symptoms. When symptoms of prostate cancer do occur, it’s hard to distinguish them from a benign process.  However, concern should rise if men experience:

  • Blood in semen or urine 
  • Ejaculation causes pain 
  • Difficulty starting urination 
  • Interrupted urine stream
  • Trouble emptying the bladder 
  • Weak urine stream 

If you have questions, concerns or are experiencing symptoms, please call your primary care doctor for an appointment. 

“The benefit of early screening -- is finding cancer and treating it before it can spread,” says Dr. Dovirak.

Early detection also, increases your chance of complete cure and lowers incidence of recurrence or additional health complications. 

Know your prostate cancer risk factors  

Prostate cancer can have a genetic link. 

“It’s important to know your risk factors,” says Dr. Dovirak. “If your father or brother had prostate cancer or if you are an African-American male, your risk of prostate cancer is higher.”

Patients with high PSA test results will meet with their physician to determine next steps, which can include a rectal exam or a prostate biopsy. 

Make an appointment with the Riverside urology team 

The urology team at Riverside Health System is here for all of your urologic needs. Visit the Riverside Urology locations page to find the most convenient location and schedule an appointment today. 

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