Introduction to Prostate Health

Prostate health is a significant aspect of men’s overall well-being, particularly as they age. The prostate is a small gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, playing a crucial role in the male reproductive system. One of the primary methods for assessing prostate health is through testing levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the blood. 


What is Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)?

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by both normal and malignant cells of the prostate gland. PSA is mainly found in semen, but small amounts can also be detected in the blood. Measuring the levels of PSA in the blood can help detect prostate conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer.

Types of PSA Tests

1. Total PSA Test:

   – Measures the overall level of PSA in the blood.

   – Elevated levels can indicate prostate cancer, but they can also be due to other conditions such as BPH or prostatitis.

2. Free PSA Test:

   – Measures the amount of PSA that is not bound to proteins in the blood.

   – Typically, men with prostate cancer have lower levels of free PSA relative to their total PSA.


Understanding the PSA Ratio

The ratio of free PSA to total PSA (fPSA/tPSA) can provide additional diagnostic information. This ratio is particularly useful in determining the likelihood of prostate cancer in men with elevated total PSA levels. A higher ratio, indicating a higher percentage of free PSA, suggests a lower likelihood of prostate cancer. Conversely, a lower ratio, indicating a lower percentage of free PSA, is more indicative of prostate cancer, prompting further investigation.

– High Ratio: A higher percentage of free PSA suggests a lower likelihood of prostate cancer. It is more often associated with benign conditions like BPH.

– Low Ratio: A lower percentage of free PSA is more indicative of prostate cancer, prompting further investigation.


Interpreting PSA Test Results

PSA test results can be influenced by various factors including age, race, and prostate volume. For instance, PSA levels tend to rise naturally as you get older, and a larger prostate can produce more PSA. It’s essential to consider these factors alongside PSA levels and the PSA ratio. No diagnosis can be made from PSA testing alone, but abnormal results need to be investigated further. 


When to Get Tested

Regular PSA screening is advised for men over the age of 50 or earlier for those with risk factors such as a family history of prostate cancer or African ancestry. Discuss with your healthcare provider to determine the best screening schedule for you.

Understanding your PSA levels, including total and free PSA and their ratio, is vital in maintaining prostate health and early detection of potential issues. However, it’s important to remember that PSA testing is just one part of prostate health management. Regular screenings and consultations with your healthcare provider, who can provide personalised advice based on your individual risk factors and health status, are equally important. These actions can help ensure timely and accurate diagnosis, enabling better prostate health management.


Contact us at The Health Dispensary for more information or to schedule a PSA test. Your health and wellness are our top priorities.