Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA): PSA is a protein made by the prostate. PSA is mostly found in semen, but can also be found in blood. A PSA test is a blood test that checks your PSA level.

High PSA levels provide a clue that a man may have prostate cancer. High levels could also be caused by non-cancerous conditions like infection, or an enlarged prostate.

If further investigation finds that cancer is present, treatment options will be made available. After treatment, your doctor will continue to monitor your PSA levels. If any prostate cancer cells remain after treatment they would cause a rise in the PSA.

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When do I need a PSA test?

Men over the age of 40 should get a baseline PSA test. After that, every 5 years until age 50 and every year after that. If a family history of prostate cancer exists, it is recommended that men get tested yearly after age 40.

Where can I get a PSA test?

At your family doctor, a walk-in clinic, or at the MAN VAN™.

Why is my PSA level high?

Elevated PSA levels can be a result of many things unrelated to cancer, including:

  • Enlargement of the prostate
  • Prostatitis (infection of the prostate)
  • Urinary infection
  • Recent prostate procedure (i.e. biopsy)


If your PSA results come back high, we will recommend follow up with a specialist to rule out prostate cancer.

Normal PSA Levels:

Age PSA Level
Up to age 49 0.00-2.50 µg/l
50-59 0.00-3.50 µg/l
60-69 0.00-4.50 µg/l
Age 70 and above 0.00-6.50 µg/l
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Digital Rectal Exam (DRE):

The doctor feels the prostate through the rectal wall, by placing a gloved finger into the rectum. While a normal prostate feels smooth and rubbery, prostate cancer feels like a hard lump of plastic or wood. Cancer can also make the prostate feel unevenly shaped. Rectal exams are important in detecting prostate cancer because for some men, the PSA may not be elevated.



Prostate Biopsy:

Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre offers an outpatient clinic with the help of EFW Radiology who perform the biopsies. This procedures involves the use of small needles to obtain tissue samples to be examined under a microscope and aid in the detection of cancer. These small needles pass through the rectal wall with the guidance of a trans rectal ultrasound (TRUS). The entire procedure takes around 10-15 minutes and local anesthesia is used.

BIOPSY NOTE: EFW will be providing biopsies at PCC as determined by the urologists. If you have recently been scheduled for a biopsy, please ensure that you follow social distancing rules while attending your appointment. 




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Other Tests

Other Tests

Bone Scan

A bone scan may be done if high-risk prostate cancer is suspected. The most common place for prostate cancer to spread is to the bones.


An MRI is used in some prostate cancer research studies.

CT Scan

CT scanning is used in the planning of radiation treatment.


When detected early, prostate cancer is one of the most successfully treated types of cancer.

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