Before having a PSA test to test for prostate cancer, men shouldn't have ejaculated during the previous 48 hours.
Semen released during sexual activity can cause prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels to rise temporarily, which may affect the test results.
For the same reason, before having a PSA test men shouldn't have:
exercised vigorously in the previous 48 hours
an active urinary infection (PSA may remain raised for many months)
had a prostate biopsy in the previous 6 weeks
What is PSA?
PSA is a protein made by a man's prostate gland (a small gland in the pelvis between the penis and bladder).
What are PSA tests?
PSA tests are used to measure the level of PSA in a man's blood. A raised level of PSA can be a sign of a prostate condition, such as:
- enlarged prostate
- infection or inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
- prostate cancer
- digital rectal examinations (DRE)
You may also be offered a DRE, another way to diagnose problems with your prostate gland.
During the DRE the doctor will insert their finger into your anus to check for any abnormalities on the prostate gland.
A prostate biopsy, where a tissue sample is taken from the prostate for analysis, can also increase your PSA levels.
Your PSA test should therefore be carried out either:
- before the surgery
- at least 6 weeks afterwards.