PSA

Is Your PSA Level Dangerously High? This Is Why

What is PSA?

PSA stands for “prostate specific antigen.” It is a protein produced by prostate cells. Prostate cancer cells also produce PSA. It’s quite normal to have a small amount of PSA in your blood.

But as you get older, the amount rises, and your prostate gets bigger. A raised PSA level is not always a medical concern but may suggest a problem with your prostate.

The PSA Test is a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. It is used as a means of early detection of prostate health problems.


For more information on the function and purpose of the prostate gland click here.


What is a high PSA level?

The PSA test alone can’t diagnose any disease. As discussed, elevated PSA levels do not always mean that you have prostate cancer or any other prostate problem.

Many factors can affect your PSA levels so that the doctor won’t consider your PSA level on its own.

There is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA. Factors such as age and ethnicity make it hard for researchers to establish a normal range.

However, most doctors consider PSA levels of 4.0 ng/ml as high and would often recommend a prostate biopsy. One study shows that men with this level of PSA often have prostate cancer.

Low PSA levels also don’t always mean that you don’t have prostate cancer. Studies show that some men with a PSA below 4.0 ng/ml do have prostate cancer.

What causes a high PSA?

Let’s go into a bit more detail about the reasons why some men have a high PSA level.

1) Enlarged prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is not prostate cancer. It simply means that your prostate gland is larger than usual. In this case, there are more cells in the prostate gland. And there are more cells that produce PSA.

BPH is also the most common prostate problem in older men. While it is not fully understood, experts say that this might be caused by changes in hormone balance and cell growth.

Regardless, there are risk factors for having an enlarged prostate:

  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Ethnic background
  • Obesity

Some studies also claim that diabetes and heart disease also increase the risk of BPH.

BPH may not need to be treated unless it is causing problems with your urination. Some men go to the toilet more frequently, while some find it hard to pass urine.

In some cases, BPH may cause the bladder to be blocked, which leads to retention of urine, bladder infections, and kidney damage.

In these cases, doctors recommend invasive surgery along with medications that control inflammation and infection.

2) Prostatitis

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. Unlike cancer and enlarged prostate, it is often caused by common strains of bacteria.

As microbes enter the urethra, it can travel to the upper parts of your urinary system. The infection can spread to your prostate if left untreated.

An inflamed prostate caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Once they are killed, the inflammation usually subsides, and your prostate gland eventually heals. However, prostatitis can be long-term and recurring. In this case, it might take more time and effort to treat it.

Nerve damage in the urinary tract might also cause an inflamed prostate. This can be caused by surgery or trauma to the area. HIV/AIDS, catheters, and biopsies can also cause prostate inflammation.

But compared to prostate cancer, prostatitis is more common and treated more easily.

3) Recent sexual activity

Sex can also raise your PSA level. Studies show that frequent sexual activity or a recent ejaculation can cause a mild increase in PSA.

How this works is not fully understood, but high PSA levels due to recent sexual activity are not a big deal. In these cases, PSA levels usually return to normal in two to three days.

This is why men are advised not to ejaculate for 48 hours before a PSA test. It makes a false positive result. The semen released causes PSA levels to rise temporarily.

However, one study claims that high PSA levels resulting from recent sexual activity must be checked if the PSA value is borderline (baseline PSA).

In this case, the effect of sexual activity on PSA levels may be clinically relevant, and PSA levels should be evaluated 24 hours after ejaculation.

4) Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTIs irritate and inflame prostate cells. As a result, it could cause PSA levels to go up.

Microbes that entered your urinary tract causes UTIs. In some cases, the invading bacteria travel up to the ureters, bladder, and the prostate gland.

In case high PSA levels are caused by UTIs, your doctor can quickly rule this out with a simple urine test. And unlike other cases, UTIs can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Also, if you’re diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, you have to wait until after the infection has cleared up before you have a PSA test.

Does an elevated PSA level mean you have prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer CAN cause PSA levels to rise. Traditionally, medical experts recommend prostate cancer screening to detect, monitor, and treat the condition.

It involves a series of PSA tests, rectal exams and imaging tests like x-rays, ultrasound, and cystoscopy.

The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) found that men with a PSA rate of change (PSA velocity) greater than 0.75 ng/mL/year were at increased risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and that PSA velocity was more specific than a 4.0 ng/mL PSA cutoff (90 versus 60 percent specificity) [68].

To confirm prostate cancer, however, a doctor will normally recommend a biopsy. The procedure involves multiple samples of prostate tissue that are collected by inserting hollow needles into the gland and then withdrawing them. This is the definitive test to see if there are tumors and if they are cancerous.

However, there is overwhelming evidence which proves that screening for prostate cancer is more harmful than beneficial.

NOTE: I have always spoken out against prostate biopsies. They are dangerous. If it turns out you have prostate cancer, by having a biopsy, you run the risk of spreading the cells further, and potentially turning benign cancer into a terminal one.


For more information on prostate cancer click here.


What is the controversy surrounding PSA screening?

Using the PSA test to screen for prostate cancer may help to detect small tumors. But many of these tumors do not cause symptoms and will grow so slowly that they are unlikely to be life-threatening. Treating them with invasive surgery, radiation and drugs is called “overtreatment.”

Overtreatment exposes us to potential complications and adverse effects. These include the inability to control urine flow, bowel problems, and loss of erections.

Another controversy surrounding the PSA test is that it may give false-positive or false-negative results for prostate cancer. What that means is you may have an elevated PSA level, but no cancer is actually present.

A false-positive test result will only cause anxiety for you and your family and might lead to unnecessary medical procedures.

One study reveals that only about 25 percent of men who have a biopsy due to a high PSA level have prostate cancer. Consider this before the doctor opens up your prostate.

A false-negative PSA test result can also occur. PSA levels can be low even though you actually have prostate cancer. False-negative test results may give you false assurance.

So to sum up:

  • High PSA levels do not always mean that you have prostate cancer.
  • There are many factors to consider, along with your family history, to see how likely you are to have cancer.
  • And if your doctor recommends that you have a biopsy, you need to know all the risk factors involved.

How are researchers trying to improve PSA screening?

Percent-free PSA

PSA occurs in 2 major forms in the blood. One form is attached to blood proteins, while the other circulates (unattached).

This is known as free PSA. The percent-free PSA is the ratio of how much PSA circulates free compared to the total PSA level.

This test is usually used if your PSA results are borderline/ baseline (for example; between 4 and 20), to help a Doctor decide whether to administer a biopsy.

The percentage of free PSA is lower in men who have prostate cancer than men who do not.

Many doctors recommend biopsies for men whose percent-free PSA is 10% or less, and advise that men consider a biopsy if it is between 10% and 25%. However, but not all doctors agree that 25% is the best cutoff point to decide on a biopsy.

Complexed PSA

This test directly measures the amount of PSA that is bound to other proteins. This test could be done instead of checking the total and free PSA. It is still being studied to determine if it would provide the same level of accuracy.  

PSA velocity

PSA velocity measures how fast PSA levels have risen over a period of time. PSA tends to increase as men age.  But a rapid rise in PSA may indicate the presence of cancer or possibly an aggressive form of cancer. However, recent studies have questioned the value of PSA velocity in predicting a finding of prostate cancer from a biopsy.

PSA density

PSA levels are higher in men with larger prostate glands. The doctor measures the volume (size) of the prostate gland and divides the PSA number by the prostate volume.

A higher PSA density may signify a greater likelihood of cancer. PSA density is not as useful as the percent-free PSA test.  Measuring PSA density generally requires an MRI or transrectal ultrasound.

A further screening test is a DRE (Digital rectal exam). In this procedure, the doctor or nurse feels your prostate through the wall of the rectum by sliding a finger gently into your anus. This is done to feel for any hard or lumpy areas in your prostate, and to get an idea of its size.

PSA doubling time

PSA doubling reflects the tumor growth, so the doubling time should reflect the time it takes for the number of tumor cells to double.

If I choose PSA testing, what are the next steps if you have a raised PSA level?

Instead of quickly jumping to surgery and drugs for a solution, there is another option: active surveillance.

Active surveillance is a non-invasive approach to prostate cancer treatment. It is where instead of jumping into surgery, you actively monitor the disease’s progress.

Drugs and invasive surgery, such as a radical prostatectomy only become an option when there is no other way.

Active surveillance is the better option if your cancer shows all signs of being the “good” kind, i.e. slow-growing, low volume, and not aggressive. In this case, you can treat it without drugs, radiation, or surgery.

A benefit of monitoring low-risk cancer is that you might avoid having unnecessary surgery. In fact, one study of men undergoing active surveillance found that, 15 years later, less than 1% of men developed metastatic disease. There are also other natural ways to treat prostate cancer.

Watchful waiting is also another option. Watchful waiting is usually used by men experiencing other health problems, who may be unable to handle surgery or radiotherapy.

It can be used in men with both localized prostate cancer or men whose cancer has spread (advanced cancer).

It involves fewer tests than active surveillance and is less intensive, more often than not taking place at the GP surgery than a hospital. If you do have treatment in the future, it will aim to control the cancer and manage any symptoms, rather than to cure it.


For more information on active surveillance click here.


Conclusion

The main point is this: prostate cancer, when caught early, can be treated. PSA levels rise, but it doesn’t confirm that you have prostate cancer.

Before you undergo prostate cancer screening, ask your doctor about the risks. Do your own research and get a second opinion.

There are many causes of a high PSA: an enlarged prostate, prostate inflammation, infection, and recent sexual activity. Therefore a PSA test is not an accurate indicator of prostate cancer.

But it’s still a good first step to take.

Doing so will help you determine the cause of your prostate problem, along with the right way to resolve it.

What was your PSA level the last time you checked? What are you doing about it now to get it down? Share your thoughts with us below and I’ll give you some advice!


For more information on prostate health, check out our :

Updated & Expanded 10th Edition All About The Prostate…The Definitive Guide To Healing Your Prostate Naturally.

Sources

  1. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. PSA tests for prostate cancer screening. 2013 Mar 13 [Updated 2018 Feb 22].
  2. Barry MJ. Clinical practice. Prostate-specific-antigen testing for early diagnosis of prostate cancer. New England Journal of Medicine 2001;344(18):1373-1377.
  3. Loeb S, Carter HB, Schaeffer EM, Kettermann A, Ferrucci L, Metter EJ. Distribution of PSA velocity by total PSA levels: data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Urology. 2011;77(1):143–147. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2010.04.068
  4. Palsdottir T, Nordstrom T, Karlsson A, et alThe impact of different prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing intervals on Gleason score at diagnosis and the risk of experiencing false-positive biopsy recommendations: a population-based cohort studyBMJ Open 2019;9:e027958. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027958
  5. Wright JL, Lin DW, Stanford JL. The effect of demographic and clinical factors on the relationship between BMI and PSA levels. Prostate. 2011;71(15):1631–1637. doi:10.1002/pros.21380

About Our Author Ben's Natural Health Team

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13 Comments Newest

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  1. Ray Satterwhite

    I had a blood sample not a rectal….The PSA is 5.8….I pee a lot but it is a rapid flow….I don’t struggle to get the pee out….

  2. Gregory A Walsh

    I have a history of BPH since my mid 20’s. Now 67. PSA was around 3.8 for years. Recently went up to 9. Currently treating with a course of antibiotics. Will test again later. My Dr. Wanted to schedule a biopsy ASAP. Last year my Doc. Wanted me to have a Cytopsy because of microscopic blood in urine test. Declined that too. Seems to me geriatric medecine is big business. Just mention cancer and fear sets in,..then they push very expensive exploratory surgeries before you have a chance to think. I’ll def. go the holistic route first. I had two DRE that checked out just fine, no nodules or hard spots. Just some swelling. Joined an on line forum and the blogs are filled with nightmare stories about over treatments. One guy had aggressive cancer,refused conventional treatment. Eleven years later he feels fine. Just treated Wholistically

  3. Mike Macbeth

    I have been diagnosed with BPH, I have a PSA of 12, and have had an MRI which reveled a lesion on the Apex of the Prostate. I have declined a biopsy so far. I am taking Ben’s Prostate Power and Ben’ s Prostate Healer for just approaching 2 months now…..i sleep through the night now….always…..and feel terrific. sex drive is strong and erections are solid. I’m 65 years of age….my question is, can I continue to take these Ben’s supplements for ever or should I take a break after a period of use.

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Mike, thanks for getting in touch with us.

      You are quite right in resisting your doctor’s attempts of pushing a biopsy on you. There are other, far safer ways of ascertaining the aggression of cancer. You should have another MRI scan in a couple of months’ time so as to compare the results and plot growth if there is any. It is important to have the lesion assigned a Gleason score so that you can decide on the most appropriate course of action.

      In the meantime, I would advise taking our product Total Health Advanced, designed to aid with combatting an enlarged prostate as well as slow down and mitigate the growth of cancer cells. If you find that our other products, Prostate Healer and Prostate Power, are helping you then by all means proceed as you were. But you should strongly consider adding Total Health Advanced to the mix as it is explicitly designed to help men who suffer from Prostate Cancer, whereas the other products are not.

      In terms of how long you should be taking our supplements, we advise you take them for as long as you would like to maintain optimal prostate health, and for as long as you are suffering from Prostate Cancer.

      Please give us a call on 1-888-868-3554 to speak with a member of our customer service team who can provide you with more detailed advice and offer you assistance with placing an order.

      Wishing you good health, The Ben’s Natural Health Team.

  4. Gary Stamper

    When I started Taking Prostate Healer more than 6 months ago, my prostate weighed 170 grams (via MRI) and my PSA was at about 13. In addition, I was up 4-5 times nightly to urinate. After 3 months on Prostate Healer, (also through diet and exercise) I was usually up only once a night. I then switched to Total Health for 3 months, and upon retesting, my prostate had shrunk to 113 grams and my PSA had dropped to 10.1. My urologist was shocked and wanted to know what I was doing so I told him. He remains skeptical but at least he listens, and could not respond to my question, “what else could it be?” I’m also loving the changes in my body from weightlifting. I do love your products, but they are so expensive.

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Gary, we are so happy to hear of your positive experience with our products. As for your comments on price, we work very hard to make each product as affordable as possible. We do everything we can, except compromise on quality or efficacy, that is what makes our supplements expensive. We do run numerous promotions throughout the year and offer special discounts for veterans as well as multi-buy discounts and auto-order discounts. If you are unsure if we are running a promotion, or if you might be able to get a better price then the best thing to do is to call our customer support line on 1-888-868-3554. Thank you again for your great feedback and if you have any questions or require further assistance please get in touch. Wishing you food health, The Ben’s Natural Health Team.

  5. JOHN

    I am 79 years old,my PSA level was 8.3 a few months ago. Many years ago a Dr. told me I had an enlarged bladder but it was nothing to be concerned about that I just would not be able to empty at one time. Is there anything I could do because I will not go for a biopsy.

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us.

      We definitely have something that will assist with lowering your PSA level and shrink the size of your prostate. Our product, Total Health for the Prostate, is designed to help with this very problem.

      If you are worried you have an undiagnosed lesion in your prostate area, you have recourse for a whole host of non invasive diagnostic procedures. The most effective is having an MRI scan, but you can also speak with your doctor about having a PCA-3 test, a Digital Rectal Exam or further PSA tests.

      Please speak with a member of our customer service team on 1-888-868-3554 to get expert advice on our products and how they can help you.

      Wishing you good health, The Ben’s Natural Health Team

  6. Charles Mcgorray

    Raising PSA

  7. Charles McGorray

    Trying again. My PSA raised from 5.4 to 5.9 over two years. Brief history: 68 years young, 3 previous biopsy sessions with a total of 53 samples taken ( last biopsy was 5-6 years ago), no cancer found. In 1981 I had a TURP due to a severe infection. Lots of heat from motorcycle riding and some dehydration issues. Recent MRI which showed something “suspicious “, the same thing they said before the three biopsies. Doc recommended another biopsy. I said no. Somewhat restricted urine flow. Usually get up once a night, sometimes I sleep through the night. I’m almost done with my first month of Prostate Healer (liquid) and Prostate Power. Haven’t seen much improvement yet. Any suggestions?

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Charles, thanks for getting in touch. It may be best to discuss this in further detail with our customer support team. You can get in touch with them via our toll-free number 1-888-868-3554 in the US and +44 (0) 845 423 8877 in the UK. The Ben’s Natural Health Team

  8. Harold Lerner

    Do I have to take all three products at the same time to receive the benefits or can I take prostate Healer in the morning and the other two later in the day?

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Harold, for maximum effect take the program as follows: All 6 Total Health veggie caps should be taken with your first meal of the day. 1 veggie capsule of Prostate Power should be taken with each of your main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). A 10ml dose of Prostate Healer Tincture should be taken with your last meal of the day. If you have any further questions regarding the program, please get in touch and we will be happy to assist. You can also check out our FAQ page which answers commonly asked questions about the program. https://www.bensnaturalhealth.com/health-products/bens-prostate-health-program.html#attr-info-2. Wishing you good health, The Ben’s Natural Health Team.