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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

PSA test

The prostate gland produces a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA levels can be measured using a blood test.

There's no formal screening programme for prostate cancer in New Zealand. This is because we don't have a test that's accurate enough to make screening reliable. But the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test can be used with other tests and investigations to help with diagnosing prostate cancer. A raised PSA level can mean that prostate cancer is present.

A raised PSA level doesn't always mean that you have prostate cancer. Your PSA level can be raised for several reasons. These include infection, exercise, sex and an enlarged prostate. Also, some men can have prostate cancer and have a normal PSA level.

It's important to discuss the pros and cons of having a PSA test with your GP before having it done. A positive test could lead to further potentially harmful tests, such as a prostate biopsy. Equally, it could help to pick up the disease early.

The following leaflets have more information about PSA testing for prostate cancer. They should help you make an informed decision about whether to have the test.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed October 2017.

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Page reference: 545990

Review key: HIPRH-45800