Q: What Does PSA Mean?

A: PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is a protein that your prostate gland produces. Most of the PSA is released into your ejaculate, but some of it is also released into your bloodstream. This substance may be complexed (cPSA), which means that it is bound, or it may be free. PSA tests typically check for total levels of PSA.

If your doctor recommends that you undergo a series of PSA tests over a period of time, it means that he is interested in your PSA velocity. This refers to the rate of change of your PSA levels. Along with your total PSA level, your PSA velocity can be used as a tool to detect prostate cancer.

If the PSA level rises rapidly, it may indicate aggressive cancer. However, a prostate biopsy will be needed to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer, as this blood test is not conclusive.

For more information on prostatitis symptoms, please see: 8 Symptoms of Prostatitis