Frequently Asked Questions About A PSA Prostate Cancer Screening Exam

Having a PSA, or prostate specific antigen test completed, is one of the most common test used to screen for prostate cancer. If you have never had this test completed before, you may have many questions about it. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about a PSA prostate cancer screening exam. 

What Exactly is a PSA Prostate Cancer Screening Exam? 

Prostate specific antigen is a protein that is naturally produced within the prostate cells. Prostate cancer typically starts out in the prostate cells, which can greatly increase the prostate specific antigen that the cells produce. As such, by doing a blood test that measures the PSA level within your body, a doctor can determine if you are higher-risk for developing prostate cancer, or if there is a chance that you may already have prostate cancer based on the levels of PSA within your body. 

Why is a PSA Exam Often Done In Conjunction With a Digital Rectal Exam? 

Those who have more PSA within their body are more likely to develop prostate cancer in the near future, or may already have prostate cancer. However, PSA alone is not an indicator of cancer. Some men may have naturally high PSA levels and may never develop prostate cancer. Other men may have low PSA levels, and may still develop prostate cancer. As such, PSA cancer screenings are often done in conjunction with a digital rectal exam. During a digital rectal exam, a doctor checks for irregularities in the prostate, which are a better indicator of prostate cancer. 

Do Insurance Companies Cover a PSA Test? 

Most insurance companies will cover the cost of a PSA test up to one time per year. If you are having a PSA test performed before the age of 45, your doctor may need to indicate why it is needed to ensure your insurance company will cover the costs of such an examine. 

Those who have a higher risk of having prostate cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease, should talk to their doctor by the age of 40 about having annual prostate screenings. Everyone else should talk to their doctor about having screenings performed every one to two years starting between the ages of 45 to 50. Regular prostate cancer screening is the best way to catch this form of cancer early on, increasing the odds of you winning your battle against prostate cancer. 

For more information, contact places such as Busch Center.