PSA testing

You may observe in the media, or hear by word of mouth, references to testing that we believe may mislead you. For example:

  • PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) testing of men leads to over treatment for prostate cancer.

The PSA test alone is not what determines if treatment for prostate cancer is required. The PSA test is a measure of the presence of a marker in the blood system. When levels of the marker rise above a level typical for a male of your age, this identifies the need for further investigation to isolate the reason for the rise. A biopsy may be called for to determine if prostate cancer is the cause.

  • Prostate cancer moves slowly. Even if you have prostate cancer, you will probably die of something else first.

Some men develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer at a younger age. If not being regularly tested, they miss the opportunity of early diagnosis, which will provide for a better treatment outcome.

The Geelong Prostate Support Group recommend a discussion with your GP about having an annual blood test to screen for prostate cancer.

This aligns with Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) advice. Men should make an individual informed decision about testing based on the latest available evidence on the benefits and potential harms of testing and subsequent treatment for prostate cancer.

Cancer Council Australia and the PCFA have published national evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for health professionals on PSA testing and early management of test-detected prostate cancer. You may find it helpful to read the summary at this website: wiki.cancer.org.au.  These guidelines were first published in January 2016 and will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are kept up to date if new information arises.