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What Can Cause a Falsely Elevated PSA?


Updated July 03, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Question: What Can Cause a Falsely Elevated PSA?

A falsely elevated PSA can occur for several different reasons. If the PSA is falsely elevated, your doctor may be more inclined to go ahead with further, possibly unnecessary, testing. It is important to have an accurate PSA result in order to determine the likelihood of serious conditions such as prostate cancer.

Reasons for a Falsely Elevated PSA

Potential reasons for a falsely elevated PSA include:

-recent sexual activity or ejaculation

-recent digital rectal exam

-recent prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate)

-recent urinary tract infection (UTI)

-recent placement of a catheter into the bladder (sometimes used to drain urine from the bladder in men who have severe difficulties urinating)

-recent cystoscopy (a thin instrument with a camera that is inserted into the bladder)

-vigorous or extended bicycle riding

In order to avoid a falsely elevated PSA level, all of the above activities should be avoided (if possible, of course) for a few days prior to the PSA test. You should alert your physician if any of these have occurred in the days leading up to your PSA test. Typically, a PSA test can be easily rescheduled.

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