Abnormal growth of cells in prostate gland is the cause for prostate cancer. Prostate is the gland situated between pennies and the urinary bladder. It is also positioned in front of the rectum. The urinary tract urethra runs from bladder to pennies through prostate and urine flows out through this tract. The function of prostate is to secrete a liquid that nourishes the sperm. During ejaculation the prostrate presses and the fluid is pushed into urethra and is expelled through pennies along with sperms.
Prostate specific antigen is usually found in semen. A small percentage of these cells may be seen in blood also.
Tests for identifying prostate cancer
- Digital rectal exam: In this test a doctor or a trained nurse inserts lubricated fingers through rectum and tries to estimate the size of the prostrate and also tries to find out lumps or other abnormalities, if any.
- Prostrate particular antigen level test. This test is used to measure the level of prostrate particular antigen in the blood sample of the patient. Level of PSA will be higher in people who are afflicted with prostate cancer. When the PSA level goes above 4, it is considered that the person is having prostate cancer. However the patients whose level is below 4 are subjected to biopsy as 15 % of such people have the possibility of prostate cancer.
PSA levels can be due to reasons other than prostate cancer also. They are detailed below.
Bigger prostate: The prostate gland of a person can become bigger due to benign tumor. In such cases the PSA level may increase above 4.
Older age: As a person ages his PSA level may increase without any reason.
Prostatitis: The inflammation of prostate gland as a result of some infection is known as prostatitis. In such conditions the PSA level may increase above 4.
Ejaculation: Immediately after ejaculation, the PSA level may go high. But it will come down after a few hours. Therefore some doctors advice that there should be no ejaculation 24 hours prior to the PSA level test.
Cycling: It has been found that cycling can increase the PSA levels. This may be due to the particular position of the sitting.
Certain medications and procedures: it has been found that certain medications can increase the prostate level in a patient. It has also been found that for patients who have already undergone some surgical procedures related to prostate may also have higher level of PSA.