How to Prepare for a PSA Test

By Athena Hessong

Men over 50 experiencing frequent, painful urination and back or pelvic pain could have prostate cancer. To test for this, a doctor orders a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test by taking a blood sample. Elevated results from the test could suggest the need for follow-up tests to make a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Since some lifestyle factors can increase the PSA levels, showing a false elevation, men having the test need to prepare for their PSA test.

Give your doctor a copy of both your medical history and all medications you are currently taking. Follow his directions regarding whether to stop taking any medicines before the test. Some chemotherapy drugs result in lower PSA test results than those actually in the body.

Avoid physical activities which apply unnatural pressure on the genitals. Stop activities such as bicycling and horseback riding for three days before the PSA test. Pressure on the prostate can falsely increase the PSA test results.

Do not have sex for at least 24 hours prior to the test. PSA test results after a man ejaculates do not accurately reflect the PSA levels in the blood.

Ask your doctor to schedule the PSA test before a digital rectal exam (DRE), which can alter the results of a PSA test. A DRE, however, can diagnose prostate cancer.

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