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Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) - description and reference ranges

What is it?

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein that is produced by the prostate. Although the protein is produced by healthy prostate cells, levels can rise if there is a problem with the prostate, particularly in prostate cancer.

PSA is a useful screening test for prostate cancer but it is not perfect so you should be aware of its shortcomings. Many men will have a high PSA but not have prostate cancer. Testing the PSA in these men can result in them having invasive procedures, such as a prostate biopsy, when there is actually no problem. Similarly, some men will have a ‘false negative’ result – a normal PSA when there actually is underlying cancer. For this reason, even if your PSA is normal, you should still see a doctor if you have symptoms such as difficulty passing urine, getting up lots at night to pee, or feel that you are not emptying your bladder properly.

Reference ranges

If your indicative level is low and within the reference range:

Even if your PSA is normal, you should still see a doctor if you have symptoms such as difficulty passing urine, getting up lots at night to pee, or feel that you are not emptying your bladder properly.

If your indicative level is higher than the reference range for our laboratory:

Please discuss this result with your GP.

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