What is a PSA test?

The PSA Test is a blood test which can detect the early signs of prostate cancer. The test measures the level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in your blood. PSA is made by the prostate gland. Some of it will leak into your blood, and the amount depends on your age and the health of your prostate.

 

The amount of PSA in your blood is measured in nanograms of PSA per millilitre of blood (ng/ml). PSA levels can range from 1ng/ml to hundreds of ng/ml.

If you're aged 50–59, your PSA level is considered raised if it's 3ng/ml or higher.

If you're aged 60–69, your PSA level is considered raised if it's 4ng/ml or higher.

If you're aged 70 or over, your PSA level is considered raised if it's 5ng/ml or higher.

A raised PSA level in your blood may show that you have a problem with your prostate. However, this may not be prostate cancer.Other conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, prostatitis or a urinary infection, can also cause a raised PSA level.All men over 40 are able to visit one of our PSA testing sessions, as long as they have made an informed choice based on the benefits, limitations and risks of having the test.

 

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The criteria for the assessment of elevated PSA

is shown in the diagram. The "green" results

are then assessed in accordance with the 

risk protocol to determine the recommended

follow-up period as described in the following

paragraphs.

What happens at our events?

You may book a PSA test at any of our events. 15 minute slots are usually avaiable. You should not arrive too early for your test as due to COVID-19 we restrict the number of people on site,  Once you enter the testing building, you will confirm your registration details and then be directed to a testing area.  A fully trained phlebotomist will then take one blood sample. The phlebotomist will then check you and the blood sample details and assming everything is in order, you will be free to leave and you will be directed to the exit.  The process should take less than 20 minutes.

Your blood sample will be sent that evening to QA Hospital in Portsmouth where it will be analysed.  The analysis will be reviewed by a consultant urologist.  The result of your test will be emailed to you within 10 days.

What feedback will I receive?

Your result will be sent to you. You will receive your PSA number plus  a "traffic light" assessment to simplify the result for you.

A Green result indicates your current PSA score is low. The urologist will use a new protocol to recommend a further PSA test in 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the risk level associated with your age, medical history and PSA your result. By creating an account and using our PSA testing service, this will automatically remind you at the relevant time.  

The Amber score indicates that you should have a follow-up PSA test in 3 months and consider seeking advice from your GP.

A Red score indicates you should seek urgent advice from your GP.

What results have been found at previous IWPCSG PSA testing events?

 

We have run numerous PSA testing events since 2018. Around 10% of men have been assessed as Amber or Red!  These men have been advised to seek further medical advice as above.  This means that our events have potentially saved the lives of many Isle of Wight men. In addition, around 10% of men whilst receiving a satisfactory result from their test, they have been considered a higher risk in accordance with the risk protocol and urged to get a follow up test within a year.

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Investigating a raised PSA

The diagram opposite shows the normal investigation pathway to treatment for prostate cancer.  Your GP may request a second PSA test and then refer you to a urologist.  You should be seen within 2 weeks.  The diagnosis will commence with an MRI scan and then if necessary a biopsy.  This will assess the extent of any prostate cancer and the agressiveness of the cancer. Your consultant will then discuss with you any need for further scans and the treatment options.

Importance of Early detection 

The diagram opposite highlights the importance of PSA testing and screening for prostate cancer.  Early detection can lead to treatment when the cancer is curable.

It is important to: Remember, a PSA test is not a one-off.  Your PSA will likely change over time. It is important to:

  • Know your PSA 

  • Know where your PSA is going.

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