A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is conducted to see if protein production is overly high in a man's prostate; high levels of PSA are an indication of possible prostate cancer. Health Central says that anything over the number four is considered to be abnormal; however, prostate cancer is not the only condition that causes an elevation of this kind. There are other conditions that frequently inflate PSA readings, and can easily be tested for and treated.
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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common reason behind an elevated PSA number. With this condition, the prostate naturally enlarges as you age. When your prostate enlarges, it eventually starts to push against the urethra and your bladder, ultimately causing urination problems. Due to BPH, the prostate can become irritated, and subsequently releases excess protein, elevating the PSA number. BPH, though, is a condition that is easily treated with medications lifestyle changes.
Acute Urinary Tract Infections
An acute urinary tract infection in an older man can raise a BPA number considerably. If this is determined to be the cause of the elevated PSA level, the doctor will treat the infection and then do another PSA test in six weeks. After the infection is healed, the PSA number usually goes back to normal.
According to PSA Rising Magazine, a man can have elevated PSA numbers years after having prostate surgery. Sometimes, this can happen ten years after surgery; it may mean his cancer is returning, but that is not always so. Doctors have developed three different testing methods to determine why the PSA is rising after surgery. The first is the Gleason score that determines whether the prostate was removed initially and what the chances are of cancer coming back. The other two are the timing of the PSA number rise after the surgery, and the PSA doubling rate since the surgery was done. Those patients with a high PSA two years after surgery and a doubling rate after ten months are ninety-five per cent unlikely to have any metastasised cancer three years after the elevated PSA number is found.
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