If you have chosen to have a test at one of our events, then on filling in the consent form, you will have selected to receive the result letter either by ‘email’ or ‘post’. Do allow up to 10 to 14 days for this to arrive, as at busy times of the year we could be dealing with well over 1000 results to process. If you have selected ‘email’ for your result to arrive, then do check your ‘junk or spam’ listings, as it will be coming from a source unknown to your server. It is your responsibility to ensure you receive the result. If you have not received your result within 3 weeks after the event date, please phone one of the phone numbers at the bottom of this page for information.

What does the result tell me?

Sometimes a raised PSA level can be a sign of prostate cancer, particularly if it is very high into double figures. A slightly raised reading can often point to something less serious, such as an inflamed or infected prostate, or an enlargement of the prostate, that can commonly occur as men age.

In men who have a confirmed diagnosis of prostate cancer, a rising PSA is a useful test to track the cancer growth, since it can be detected well before any clinical signs or symptoms. The PSA test is widely accepted as an invaluable tool for monitoring prostate cancer disease activity and recurrence of the cancer after treatment.

The older you are, the higher your PSA level is likely to be (whether or not you have prostate cancer). As the gland enlarges with age it then releases more ‘antigen’ into the blood, which this test measures. So, for someone in their 50s a normal reading should be less than 3.0ng/ml, but a man in his 70s the reading should be less than 5.0ng/ml to be normal.

There is no clear consensus regarding the optimal PSA threshold for recommending referral for further investigations, below is the table currently used by PCaSO and its partners and some NHS Hospitals. Men having the test with PCaSO, will receive a ‘green’ ‘amber’ or ‘red’ result letter. Both amber and red letters recommend further investigation via your GP.

 

Age Range

Green (normal)

Amber (borderline)

Red (raised)

Under 50

Less than 2.0

2.0 > 3.0

Over 3.0

50 to 59

Less than 3.0

3.0 > 4.0

Over 4.0

60 to 69

Less than 4.0

4.0 > 5.0

Over 5.0

70 and over

Less than 5.0

5.0 > 6.0

Over 6.0

 

How often should I be tested?

Your first PSA test result is often referred to as a ‘baseline’ or ‘marker’ result, it lays down what your PSA level is and any further tests you have it provides a comparison. Unless the result is high, a one-off test is of little value, you should repeat the test once the baseline is known, how regularly depends on your result. It is important to keep a record of your results so you can compare and see if there is any increase or reduction. Doctors will look at the rate of a rising PSA (velocity) comparing it with prior test results. As the PSA number goes up, the chance of cancer being present increases.

 

International guidelines and recommendations on prostate cancer screening:

  • Start testing at age 45 or 40 if there is a known risk.
  • If PSA is less than 1.0 ng/ml then return for testing every 5 to 10 years
  • If PSA is between 1.0 and 3.0 ng/ml then return for testing every 2 to 4 years

As a general rule, the closer your result is to the guideline for your age, the more regularly you should be tested.

It is important that for 48 hours before having the test carried out, you do not undertake any vigorous exercise, such as a gym workout, running, or particularly bike riding, as these activities can elevate the PSA level. In a small percentage of men ejaculation within 48 hours before having the test, can sometimes raise the PSA level.

For information about PSA test events or result enquiry, phone:

Sussex – Roger Bacon 01903 775783   

Hampshire – Peter Weir 01489 892168 

Dorset – Allan Higgin 01202 691710

As well as running PSA test events PCaSO also offers support to men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their wives or partners.  We hold regular meetings at places within our region where men can come and talk about their diagnosis, treatments or problems of living with cancer with others with similar experiences.  At some groups you can learn more about the disease from lectures by clinicians and others.  See our website www.pcaso.org for details of forthcoming group meetings.

There is a free National Helpline 0800 035 5302 manned by prostate cancer patients where you can talk about these problems.