The PCA3 test is a urine test which detects small amounts of a protein released by prostate cancer cells.
PCA3 is short for Prostate Cancer Gene 3. Prostate cells have PCA3 genes that make the cells produce a small amount of a this protein. Prostate cancer cells make much more of this protein than normal prostate cells. When the level of PCA3 protein is high, it leaks into the urine and can be measured. Reasearch is underway to see whether this will be a useful test for prostate cancer.
A PSA test is not a very accurate test for prostate cancer. Some men with a high level of PSA in the blood have prostate cancer. But some men who have prostate cancer have a low PSA level. And PSA levels can also be raised by several other medical conditions not related to cancer.
It is hoped that a simple PCA3 urine test may be able to pick up prostate cancers. Until more research is done it is most useful done in conjuction with a PSA test.
The PCA3 test needs to be done immediately following a rectal examination - you need to have a rectal examination because this massages the prostate gland and helps the PCA3 to go into the urine.
The PCA3 test is not available through the NHS at the moment but is available to buy with Medichecks.
View a Prostate test that is more dedicated to your needs.
This urine test is for men who have had a raised PSA result and wish to investigate further before going down a more invasive route (such as a biopsy) or for men who have symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
As with most cancer screening tests, it is often best to have the test before you have any symptoms. This way it can pick up very early cancers which may be more treatable.
If you are suffering with any changes in your urinary system then it is important to have these checked by your doctor.
These tests can be useful as an addition to this but should not be used in place of.