Elevated PSA describes a higher-than-average level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood. Men with prostate cancer can have elevated levels of PSA, but it should be noted that elevated PSA is not always an indicator of the presence of cancer.

What is a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)?

Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein created by the tissues of the prostate. PSA is mainly found in the semen produced by the prostate but small amounts circulate in the blood. PSA is created by both non-cancerous and cancerous prostate tissue, but elevated levels can be a sign of prostate cancer. However, elevated PSA can have other causes that are not related to cancer.


While many people associate elevated PSA with prostate cancer, a high PSA level is not a reliable indicator of prostate health. There are non-cancerous causes of high PSA. Your PSA levels may be elevated due to:

  • Aging
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Prostate inflammation (Prostatitis)
  • High levels of parathyroid hormone
  • Prostate injury
  • Recent ejaculation 
  • Temporary bruising or trauma from a surgical procedure like catheter insertion

PSA Testing

A PSA test is a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer. The test detects the levels of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. However, because elevated PSA is not always a reliable indicator of prostate health, a PSA test is only one of several diagnostic tools doctors use to screen for prostate cancer. A digital rectal exam is usually performed alongside the PSA test.

PSA testing has become a somewhat controversial topic in the last decade, as there are many conflicting opinions on the effectiveness and risks of the tests. PSA testing can help doctors detect cancer early, but the results can be misleading and lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The National Cancer Institute recommends speaking with your doctor about whether or not getting a PSA test is right for you.

If the results of a test show elevated levels of PSA, the doctor will need to do further testing. This may include taking a prostate biopsy to check for the presence of cancerous cells.

Schedule an Appointment

At Alliance Urology Specialists, our goal is to provide the highest level of specialized urology care. We know that dealing with a condition like elevated PSA and the possibility of prostate cancer can be overwhelming and emotional. Our board-certified physicians will be able to help you navigate the condition and provide you with the highest standard of care. To schedule an appointment, call Alliance Urology Specialists in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.