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Elevated PSA

A PSA is a simple blood test that checks for a specific antigen (protein) in the blood. Elevated PSA levels may suggest but do not confirm prostate cancer.

The only way to confirm prostate cancer is to perform an ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate. This office-based procedure is performed with the patient receiving a local anesthetic. It takes about five to ten minutes to perform with samples of the prostate tissue sent to a laboratory for review.

A digital rectal exam (DRE) is also performed. A DRE is a physical examination of the prostate, through the rectum, to detect lumps or nodules that could indicate cancer.

Although some medical practices use a PSA level of 4.0 to indicate an abnormality, South County Urological uses age-specific readings as suggested by the American Urological Association.

Unless otherwise instructed by their physician, African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should have annual PSA screenings and a DRE beginning at age 40. All other men should begin annual PSA and DRE screenings at age 50.

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