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Elevated PSA Levels

Understanding elevated PSA levels

Prostate cancer is very curable when caught and treated in the early stages. Physicians order PSA screening tests to measure PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, levels. These levels become elevated when a man has prostate cancer, but other non-cancerous prostate health conditions and issues can also cause higher levels. In the past, many physicians automatically requested a prostate biopsy when a PSA test detected elevated PSA levels. Today, our Austin urologists take other factors into consideration before ordering biopsies, including a man’s overall health, his family health history and his personal health history.

Normal PSA levels vary based on men’s age

Here are the normal PSA levels for men at various ages. As men age, their levels increase. Numbers above the normal levels signify elevated PSA levels.

  • Age 40 to 50: 0 to 2.5
  • Age 50 to 60: 2.5 to 3.5
  • Age 60 to 70: 3.5 to 4.5
  • Age 70 to 80: 4.5 to 5.5

Elevated PSA levels can be a sign of cancerous and non-cancerous conditions

Prostate cancer is the most common cause of elevated levels, but that is not the only reason a man’s level may be higher than normal. Several non-cancerous conditions, circumstances and prostate health issues also cause PSA levels to rise.

  • Enlarged prostate (BPH)
  • Prostatitis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Use of urinary catheters
  • Taking certain medications, such as testosterone replacement therapy

In addition, there are times when men’s health or actions around the time of their PSA test might cause elevated PSA levels. Men should avoid testing if they meet any of the following conditions at or near the time of testing.

  • Having an illness
  • Experiencing prostate inflammation or infection
  • Having a Foley catheter
  • Having currently or recently been intoxicated
  • Current or recent participation in strenuous activities, such as biking or rowing

Men who meet any of the above conditions should talk to a physician about when they should take a PSA test.

What men should expect if their PSA test levels are higher than normal

Our Austin urologists weigh several factors when they see elevated PSA levels. There are several different approaches they may take, depending on the individual’s circumstances.

  • Order additional PSA blood tests
  • Perform a DRE, or digital rectal examination
  • Order an MRI, transrectal ultrasound or other imaging tests
  • Perform a prostate biopsy

Our Austin urologists diagnose and treat problems related to prostate health

From non-cancerous prostate health problems to prostate cancer, men can rely on our caring team to provide state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment. Contact us to make an appointment.