The PSA (prostate specific antigen) test is one of the most common prostate cancer screening methods. However, in recent years, PSA has come under scrutiny for its limited ability to differentiate benign conditions from aggressive cancers. After all, an increase in PSA levels can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions such as prostate enlargement or benign prostate hyperplasi (BPH). Therefore, measuring PSA alone does not necessarily provide enough specific information to physicians to help them determine if patients should move to a more invasive procedure like prostatic biopsy or subscribe patients to active surveillance.
About Prostate Cancer
The prostate, a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, is important to male sexual function and urinary control. As men age, their prostate cells undergo alterations in shape and size that may be a precursor to cancer. Most prostate cancers progress very slowly, but aggressive forms of the disease can become life-threatening, spreading to the bone marrow and other organs in a process called “metastasis.” Early detection of these aggressive cancers is the key to survival.
The Prostate Health Index (phi) is a blood test that is up to 3 times more specific in detecting prostate cancer than PSA and percent free PSA alone. phi can help differentiate prostate cancer from benign conditions and therefore reduce unnecessary biopsies. *1,2
1. Urol. 2015 April ; 193(4): 1163–1169. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2014.10.121.
2.Am J Clin Exp Urol 2014;2(4):343-350