New technologies make it possible for patients to test for prostate cancer from home. PSA testing measures the volume of prostate specific antigen in the blood, this method can partially indicate your risk for prostate cancer.
Let’s talk about how you can check your PSA levels from home.
Wash your hands with warm soapy water before you begin. Warm hands will make it easier to collect your sample.
Prick your finger using the provided lancet.
Note: The best location for collecting is from the 3rd or 4th finger on your non-dominant hand. Clean your selected finger using the alcohol wipe provided and then dry with a tissue. To prick your finger, you need to position the lancet on the rounded end of your finger, and press down. While some may be squeamish about drawing blood, this device only creates a minuscule piercing of the skin which is virtually painless, so there’s no need to worry.
Fill the blood collection tube.
Gently squeeze your finger to help the blood flow into the collection tube. If you’re unable to collect enough to fill the tube, just use another lancet on another finger.
Once completed, apply the provided plaster to your finger.
Return your sample by prepaid post.
Once you’ve collected your blood sample, place the tube inside the biohazard bag and place the bag back in the testing kit box. Package the box in the supplied return envelope, and send back to our laboratory partners as soon as possible.
Check your results privately online.
A few days later, you will be able to login to a secure web portal to view your results.
If you test positive, LetsGetChecked’s nursing support team will contact you and provide a same day consultation within a private clinic. You will be seen by a specialist doctor and the required treatment will be prescribed.
Does This Test Tell Me If I Have Prostate Cancer?
No. This test measures the amount of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in your blood. This is a protein produced by both normal and cancerous prostate cells.
Lots of things (age, infection) can cause the PSA concentration in your blood to be elevated, but it can also be elevated with prostate cancer.. This test measures the concentration of PSA in your blood and determines whether it is elevated , in which case you will be redirected to a private clinic.
What are normal PSA levels by age?
Most doctors use a PSA cutpoint of 4.0 ng/mL, or higher, to determine if the man needs further testing. Depending on the situation, however, your doctor might recommend further testing even if your PSA was below 4.0 ng/mL.
Age matters a lot, as a man ages, their PSA will naturally increase because the overall size of their prostate will naturally increase as a regular part of aging.
So, a 70 year old man with a large prostate who has a PSA of 3.7 may be very normal but a 50 year old man with a PSA of 3.7 could be concerning, even though the 3.8 falls within the lab’s defined “normal” range.
There are certain things that really make PSA go haywire, such as a urinary tract infection. A person with a UTI should never have a PSA checked since it will almost always be dramatically high.
Lifestyle factors don’t play a big role. In other words, you can’t really help your PSA levels by eating a certain diet or committing to a specific exercise program.
One way to determine an individual man’s “normal” is to track their PSA levels over time. In other words, if a man has a stable PSA year to year then this is less concerning than if there is a significant rise in the PSA year after year.
Generally, we expect the PSA to increase slightly, again as a natural part of normal prostate growth, but it really shouldn’t rise more than 0.7 per year. For example, if a man has a PSA of 2.0, 2.0, 2.2 and then suddenly it jumps to 3.9, I’d be worried about the person.
The American Cancer Society advise that men with a PSA of between 4-10 ng/mL have about a one in four chance of having prostate cancer. If your PSA is more than 10 ng/mL, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.
Variables other than prostate cancer that may cause high PSA levels include:
Enlargement of the prostate gland which often happens as a result of age
A urinary tract infection
Recent prostate biopsies or surgery
Some drugs can lower a man’s PSA level. PSA levels can also vary across labs.
Who benefits most from PSA testing?
Under the American Urological Association guidelines, men are considered to be at higher risk if they have a family history of prostate cancer (father, grandfather, brother, uncle) or are black African and Afro-Caribbean.
Both the PSA blood test and the rectal examination are equally necessary within the screening process for prostate cancer screening, even if their PSA is normal, they need a rectal exam, even if their PSA is abnormal, they need a rectal exam. Even if they have a rectal exam and it’s normal, they need a PSA test.
Men should talk to their doctor and make an informed decision about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. It is particularly important that men discuss with their doctor the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening.
If a man has a family history of prostate cancer or is African American, earlier and more frequent testing is recommended starting at the age of 40 year of age with a test once every year.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that the following groups should discuss screening options with their physician:
Men aged 50 years old who are at an average risk of prostate cancer.
Men aged 45 years of age who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer, including African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative. Examples of a first-degree relative include your father, brother or son who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer under the age of 65.
Men aged 40 who are at an even higher risk (those who have more than one first degree relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger age).
Have you considered PSA testing in the past? If you suspect that you should undergo screening, you can now take a PSA test from the comfort of home.