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The blood test that you are ordering tests for prostate specific antigen (PSA) which is a marker which can be used in screening for prostate cancer, as well as in its treatment.
Whilst the PSA test can help to detect prostate cancer earlier, it has several shortcomings when used as a screening test. Besides being elevated by prostate cancer, PSA levels can also be raised as a result of urinary tract infection, or even certain actitivies such as recent ejaculation and some forms of exercise. This means that there is a risk of PSA being elevated when no cancer is present (a false positive). For every 100 men with a high PSA result, approximately 75 of them will have a false positive result, and 25 will have a true positive (i.e. they will have prostate cancer). Currently the most reliable way of working out whether someone has a true positive or a false positive is by performing a prostate biopsy. Because the PSA test has a high false positive rate many of these prostate biopsies will prove to be unnecessary.
You should also be aware that PSA tests can cause false negative results. This means that the PSA result is in the normal range but the person has underlying prostate cancer. PSA levels can remain normal in the early stages of prostate cancer, providing false reassurance. If we test 100 men with prostate cancer then approximately 15 of them would have a normal PSA result (a false negative).
In some cases prostate cancer grows very slowly and may never cause symptoms or shorten lifespan. A significant proportion of the men who receive a true positive result may undergo surgery that they did not need.
Men over the age of 50 may benefit from having a PSA test even if they are well. If you have risk factors for prostate cancer then the age limit is lowered to 45. Risk factors include being black or having a family history of prostate cancer.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends PSA testing in men with symptoms that suggest an obstruction between the bladder and the outside world. These include:
If you are experiencing these symptoms then you should discuss them with your doctor as you are likely to need a physical examination of your prostate.
We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your blood sample.
Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.
View results securely in your own personal dashboard.
This test contains a tumour marker test. Please see your doctor if you are suffering any unusual symptoms which persist - do not use these tests to self-diagnose. Tumour markers are most useful when viewed in conjunction with a clinical examination. Results do not constitute a diagnosis of cancer and markers are often tested to monitor treatment when cancer has already been diagnosed, or to check that it has not returned. Cancer markers can be elevated in benign conditions and results often produce false positives. Sometimes tumour markers can be normal even though cancer is present. Please make sure that you think carefully about the risks and benefits before taking this test.
Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. Our doctors will interpret your results based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. You will be advised to see your doctor for any necessary follow-up action.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein which is released into the blood by the prostate gland. An enlarged gland is often associated with higher levels of PSA. PSA levels can also rise with age, with prostatitis (infected prostate) or even vigorous exercise and ejaculation.
The PSA test in isolation is not to be relied upon to diagnose prostate cancer, as levels can be raised in benign prostate disorders. Raised levels of PSA can lead to unnecessary biopsies and intervention which may decrease quality of life. However, a raised PSA level should always be investigated further.
It is useful to monitor PSA over time so that any change in what is normal for you can be investigated quickly.
We will send you your PSA Test finger-prick blood sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your blood sample in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about completing a finger-prick blood sample collection you will have the opportunity to select a clinic-based venous blood sample option during the checkout process.How to collect a finger-prick blood sample
Your PSA Test includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.
Your blood sample will be analysed at one of our chosen laboratories. You can be assured of fast, accurate results from one of our accredited independent providers of clinical diagnostic tests.
Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your PSA Test results can be downloaded for your doctor.
Once you have placed your order you can visit my.medichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your PSA Test results.
Stay motivated by filling in your online health and lifestyle questionnaire and seeing how improvements in your lifestyle can influence your results. Your medical and family history gives us vital information when interpreting your results.