Test Detail
Interpreting Results

Content created by

Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
Want to know more?
Read our Editorial Policy

Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA

You need to provide
This test is for
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required
  2. Do not give sample within 7 days of Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) or Rectal Prostatic Ultrasonography.


What is Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA?

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein secreted by the prostate gland. PSA total measures the PSA levels (both free and bound) in blood. This protein is produced by normal as well as cancerous cells. PSA is considered to be a tumor marker since its levels in the blood are elevated in prostate cancer. It serves as a useful tool to monitor the progression of prostate cancer.
The most frequent conditions that cause an elevation in PSA level are prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Why is Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA done?

The PSA Test is performed:

·         To screen for and help diagnose prostate cancer

·         To detect and diagnose diseases of the prostate gland like BPH

·         To monitor the effectiveness of treatment for prostate cancer

What does Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA Measure?

The PSA Test measures the total PSA levels (both free and bound) in blood.

PSA is a protein which is secreted by the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a male accessory reproductive organ, the secretion of which contributes to the formation of the seminal fluid. Most of the PSA produced is secreted in the seminal fluid along with prostatic secretions and only a small amount is secreted into the bloodstream. PSA is considered to be a tumor marker since its levels in the blood are elevated in prostate cancer and BPH, and it is used as a preliminary screening test before further diagnostic procedures.

PSA in blood is found as either complexed PSA (bound to other proteins) or free PSA. The PSA Test usually calculates the total PSA levels in blood including both free and complexed forms. Separate tests for the levels of these two forms can be used to distinguish between prostate cancer and BPH.

Interpreting Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA results


The normal value of PSA in blood is below 4.0 ng/ml

PSA level roughly between 4.0 and 10.0 ng/ml is considered a “grey zone”.

Lower than 4.0 ng/ml PSA in blood indicates very low risk for prostate cancer or BPH, while higher than 10.0 ng/ml indicates a very high risk of developing prostate cancer or BPH.

Different forms of PSA testing, as well as other tests, are recommended for further diagnosis.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA

Frequently Asked Questions about Prostate Specific Antigen (Total) PSA

Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. What additional tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case the result of PSA test is not normal?
Additional tests that may be prescribed in case of abnormal PSA test result are: · Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) · Free PSA Test · Urinalysis · Prostate Ultrasound · Prostate Biopsy
Q. What is BPH?
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH is a condition characterized by enlargement of the prostate gland. Enlargement due to BPH is usually caused due to aging and does not develop into cancer. The enlarged prostate puts pressure on the urethra and leads to blockage, causing urinary retention, weak or no urine flow, urinary bladder stones, infections or kidney damage.
Q. Can the PSA test detect all types of prostate cancer?
Increased PSA level is usually an indication of prostate cancer. However, it cannot confirm the diagnosis of cancer since elevated PSA levels can be seen in other conditions as well. Also, PSA levels are not significantly increased in slow growing forms of prostate cancer and many times prostate cancer can occur without increased PSA levels. PSA is usually accompanied by other tests like Digital Rectal Examination and biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of cancer.
Q. What factors can affect the test results?
The PSA levels in the blood can be affected by a number of factors including: · Ejaculation · Direct prostate examinations · Physical activities like cycling, horse-riding, etc. · Chemotherapy · Infections of the prostate gland · Prostate Biopsy · Cystoscopy (a procedure where an endoscope is inserted through the urethra to examine the urinary bladder) · Urinary catheter · Urinary tract infections
Q. In what other ways are the PSA test results evaluated to help in diagnosis?
PSA Test results can also be evaluated in the following ways: · PSA Velocity: Estimates increase or decrease in PSA levels over time. A significant increase indicates cancer. Faster the increase in PSA, more aggressive is the cancer. · PSA Doubling Time: Also tracks PSA increase by measuring the time in which PSA levels double. · PSA Density: Measures PSA levels in blood against volume of the prostate gland seen by ultrasound. The PSA levels should be in accordance with the visible volume of prostate, higher levels indicate chance of cancer. · Age-specific PSA: PSA levels increase with age, hence the normal range of PSA is to be established for the age of the particular person being tested.
Q. Is there any preparation required before the PSA test?
You should not have produced semen during sex or masturbation (ejaculated) in the previous 48 hours or Exercised heavily in the previous 48 hours. You should not have undergone a prostate biopsy in the previous six weeks or had a rectal examination (a digital rectal examination) in the previous week.
+ more

Provided by 4 Labs


Orders Delivered
Get the link to download App

All products displayed on Tata 1mg are procured from verified and licensed pharmacies. All labs listed on the platform are accredited


Tata 1mg uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 128-bit encryption and is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant


Find affordable medicine substitutes, save up to 50% on health products, up to 80% off on lab tests and free doctor consultations.

Know more about Tata 1mgdownArrow

Access medical and health information

Tata 1mg provides you with medical information which is curated, written and verified by experts, accurate and trustworthy. Our experts create high-quality content about medicines, diseases, lab investigations, Over-The-Counter (OTC) health products, Ayurvedic herbs/ingredients, and alternative remedies.

Order medicines online

Get free medicine home delivery in over 1800 cities across India. You can also order Ayurvedic, Homeopathic and other Over-The-Counter (OTC) health products. Your safety is our top priority. All products displayed on Tata 1mg are procured from verified and licensed pharmacies.

Book lab tests

Book any lab tests and preventive health packages from certified labs and get tested from the comfort of your home. Enjoy free home sample collection, view reports online and consult a doctor online for free.

Consult a doctor online

Got a health query? Consult doctors online from the comfort of your home for free. Chat privately with our registered medical specialists to connect directly with verified doctors. Your privacy is guaranteed.