Prostate Cancer: What are the benefits and limitations of the PSA test?

PSA screening can help to detect prostate cancer, but its not perfect. It's important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of PSA testing to help decide whether its right for you.

Advantages include early diagnosis - prostate cancer doesn't always present symptoms, and checking for raised PSA levels is one of the least invasive ways to pick up prostate cancer early. This allows for early treatment which is often less aggressive, and may also increase life expectancy and the chance of a full recovery.

Disadvantages include false positives and negatives - 75% of men with raised PSA levels don't have prostate cancer, but may sometimes need a biopsy to rule it out. Around 15% of people with normal PSA levels have prostate cancer, which may not be picked up through a blood test. There's also the added stress of a diagnosis - not all cancers shorten life expectancy, so a diagnosis could mean unnecessary treatment or worry.

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