The PSA test is not a test for prostate cancer. It’s a blood test for prostate problems, one of which may be cancer. If the PSA test is used with other tests, it can help doctors diagnose prostate cancer. It may help diagnose very early prostate cancer, before any symptoms develop.
But it is unclear how reliable the test is and whether treatment is always needed for early prostate cancer.
Even when prostate cancer is diagnosed early, treatment might not help men live longer. Prostate cancer may grow very slowly. Most men with early prostate cancer will not die as a result of it, and the side effects of treatment may be worse than the effects of the cancer itself.
Some men may choose to have tests and treatment for early prostate cancer. Others don’t want to know if they have prostate cancer. They may think knowing would cause them to worry or that they would have to make decisions about treatment.
There’s no right or wrong answer about having the PSA test. It is important to consider the benefits and disadvantages associated with the PSA test. With the help of your doctor and this information, you can make the decision that’s right for you.