Normal PSA Levels by Age
PSA is an abbreviated form for prostate specific antigen. The prostate cells manufacture this protein.
A PSA blood test is used to determine the levels of PSA in the male blood. It is used for the diagnosis or monitoring of prostate cancer in men.
The preparation for PSA blood test
There should be no ejaculation in men for a minimum of 48 hour before PSA testing is conducted. Any ejaculation may result in false reports of high PSA levels.
There are certain kinds of medications that lead to false low PSA results, and hence the doctor should know of all current intake of drugs, whether prescription or otherwise. Some of the drugs include antiandrogen medications, saw palmetto use, dutasteride and finasteride.
The blood sample for the PA test is usually drawn from the arm of the patient. Once the blood has been taken from the vein, a gauze or a tiny bandage is put on the area. The individual is asked to put pressure on the site to prevent any bleeding from the punctured site.
The test usually does not result in any untoward complications. However, some individuals may feel soreness and pain in the site and on occasions there may be slight bruising of the affected site.
Reasons for a PSA blood test
A PSA blood test is used as a screening process for the presence of prostate cancer.
A PSA test is also used to monitor the treatment of prostate cancer and to verify whether the cancer has relapsed or not.
In case, a doctor has reason to believe that there may be abnormalities of the prostate during routine examination, then a PSA blood test may be conducted.
Normal PSA levels
There are no levels of PSA that can be considered as normal or abnormal. Negligent or no PSA levels does not indicate the absence of prostate cancer. A PSA test is not a valid way to diagnose cancer. Any presence or absence of prostate cancer can only be determined with a biopsy. Hence, it is important to discuss and consult the doctor about the meaning and content of the PSA blood test.
There are several factors such as the race, age, current medication programs, and others which need to considered by the physician before he/she is able to conclude and arrive at valid PSA results that be termed as normal. There may also be instances, where the doctor may conduct further tests to validate the PSA results.
Older male adults tend to have higher levels of PSA than younger men. The normal levels of PSA as per the age are listed below:
- Men below the age of 50 years have normal PSA levels that are less than 2.5 ng/mL
- Men in the range of 50 to 59 years have normal PSA levels that are less than 3.5 ng/mL
- Men in the range of 60 to 69 years have normal PSA levels that are less than 4.5 ng/mL
- Men over the age of 70 years have normal PSA levels that are less than 6.5 ng/mL
- It is also important to note that the normal ranges of PSA results may vary from one laboratory to another.
- The abbreviation ng/mL stands for nanograms per milliliter
The Meaning of high or elevated PSA levels
Elevated levels of PSA can be correlated with increased risks to the development of prostate cancer. However, it is important to remember that higher than normal levels of PSA indicate the vulnerability to prostate cancer and not the presence itself.
In case the PSA results show the following reports, then further testing may be required
- A PSA level of 4 ng/mL for almost all men
- PSA levels of above 2.5 ng/mL, for men below the age of 49 years
- PSA levels of above 3.5 ng/mL, for men aged between 50 to 59 years
- PSA levels of above 4.5 ng/mL, for men aged between 60 to 69 years
- A considerable rise in the PSA levels from one year to another can also be an indicator of increased vulnerability to developing prostate cancer
- Lower levels of PSA among men of Asian American and African American origin may require follow-up testing
- PSA level that changes at a fast pace, even if it is within the normal PSA range, increases the chances of prostate cancer
The presence of prostate cancer may not necessarily be a reason for higher PSA levels. Hence, the doctor also needs to check other factors that can lead to higher than normal PSA levels, which include:
- Any ejaculation by men in the 48 hours that preceded PSA blood testing
- Males with a bigger prostate
- Infection of the urinary tract
- Infection of the prostate
- Any tests that were conducted in the prostate or the bladder, in the near past
- The use of a catheter tube to drain urine from the bladder
In addition, the doctor will check the patient’s medical history as well as family history, conduct a physical examination to check for lumps, conduct a prostate biopsy and follow-up PSA testing to finally arrive at conclusions about the presence or absence of prostate cancer in men.