Prostate-specific antigen or PSA is a glycoprotein that is produced in the prostate gland to retain the liquid form of the seminal fluid and aid sperm movement. While PSA typically stays in the prostate ducts, a small portion may leak into the bloodstream; this allows experts to detect prostate diseases such as cancer. Since several factors affect PSA levels, doctors can utilize factors like age and conduct age-specific PSA levels to determine if further screening for cancer must be conducted. This method was devised a few decades ago to estimate abnormal PSA levels and correlate it with age-specific ranges.
Since prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers to affect men, it became essential to detect prostate abnormalities proactively. Most experts conduct age-specific PSA levels tests along with a digital rectal exam to determine the presence of cancer. This is especially beneficial in men over the age of 50 who may be at the highest risk of developing prostate diseases. In an age-specific PSA levels examination, the result of 4 nanogram/milliliter (ng/ml) of blood is considered to be abnormal. Patients with these results must be prompt to get additional screenings done at the right time. While escalated PSA levels are abnormal and indicate prostate cancer, chances are that a man with PSA levels below 4ng/ml may have prostate cancer. PSA levels are known to vary throughout the course of a man’s life; therefore, age-specific PSA levels have various reference points for all age groups. According to these reference levels, a PSA level that is greater than 2.5 ng/ml is abnormal for men up to the age of 49. Similarly, for men between the ages of 50 and 59, the PSA levels that are greater than or equal to 3.5 ng/ml may indicate cancer. Men who are 60 or older should, therefore, be tested for cancer if their PSA levels are equal to or greater than 4 ng/ml.
Since prostate cancer, quite like other cancer types, do not show apparent symptoms in its infancy, an age-related PSA level test can increase the chances of detecting cancer in younger men. The method is highly effective in successful cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many experts suggest that the invention of an age-specific PSA level has dramatically lowered the occurrence of advanced stage cancer. While the age-specific PSA testing proves helpful in nipping the problem at the bud, several other reference ranges of PSA may also prove fruitful. Apart from age, for instance, certain races, ethnicities, and geographical differences may be susceptible to prostate cancer. Since relying only on an isolated age-specific PSA level reference may not be appropriate, several researchers are developing newer ways to effectively detect cancer based on underlying diseases, races, and lifestyles along with age groups.