Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood.
The blood level of PSA is often elevated in people with prostate cancer, and the PSA test was originally approved by the FDA in 1986 to monitor the progression of prostate cancer in men who had already been diagnosed with the disease. In 1994, FDA approved the PSA test to be used in conjunction with a digital rectal exam (DRE) to aid in the detection of prostate cancer in men 50 years and older. Until about 2008, many doctors and professional organizations had encouraged yearly PSA screening for prostate cancer beginning at age 50.
PSA testing (along with a DRE) is also often used by health care providers for individuals who report prostate symptoms to help determine the nature of the problem.
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