What is PSA testing?
Prostate cancer is generally asymptomatic but there are several known risk factors. These are increasing age, family history of prostate cancer, and your ethnicity. If you are at increased risk of having prostate cancer your doctor can recommend a test to measure the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. This is known as PSA testing.
Who are candidates for PSA testing?
The main advantage of PSA testing is that men who are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer are tested regularly. This means that tumours may be found earlier, and there is a better chance of curing them.
What are risks and side effects?
The main setback of PSA testing is that tumours that would not have caused major health problems are also found. Treating these tumours can lead to unpleasant physical side effects. A cancer diagnosis may also lead to anxiety and stress. To prevent what is called over-treatment, some urologists oppose screening for prostate cancer with regular PSA testing.
Discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of PSA testing, and if it is right for you.