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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

PSA test

Whakamātaunga PSA

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

There is no formal screening programme for prostate cancer in New Zealand. This is because we do not have a test that is 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.

You can get a raised PSA level if you have prostate cancer. But there are several other reasons for it being high. These include an enlarged prostate, inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), exercise and sex.

Rarely, you can have prostate cancer with a normal PSA level.

It's important to discuss the pros and cons of having a PSA test with your general practice team.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 website Kupe has information about getting checked for prostate cancer and a questionnaire to help you decide if a check is right for you.

It's often useful to have your PSA level repeated to check for changes over time.

On the next page: Prostate biopsy

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2022.


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