It is November. So, fellas, we’re learning all about how not to die.
This month we are going to talk about all the things that can kill you, or impair your life and how we’re going to NOT let that happen. More importantly, you are going to learn how to take your health to the next level and make sure your doctor knows how to help you get there.
First we’re going with PSA - prostate specific antigen. This is the one of the few blood tests we have to screen for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, we don’t have great ways to screen for prostate cancer but PSA does a good job, especially if you adjust it for age.
Age-adjusted PSA - this means your PSA level is adjusted based on your age. For example, when you get your PSA tested, the lab will put a range from 0 to 4 ng/mL. But they DO NOT adjust it for your age. So if you are younger (40 years old) and have a PSA of 3.8, the lab may say this is normal but it isn’t! Younger men should not make the PSA of a 50 year old guy.
So here are the ranges you should aim for based on age:
40 - 49: 2-2.5 ng/mL
50 - 59: 3-4 ng/mL
60 - 69: 4-4.5 ng/mL
70 - 79: 5 - 6.5 ng/mL
What this means is that as men age, their prostate tends to produce more PSA. This by no means suggests that if you’re 60 and your PSA is 4.4 ng/mL, that you should not listen to your doctor. ALWAYS see your doctor and then discuss your PSA history so you can understand your risk based on your PSA density and velocity. More to come on those later! For now, if you’re older than 40, get your PSA tested for a baseline!