March 16, 2009 -- Question: How do PSA levels change with age?
Answer: PSA levels do increase with age, in fact there have been age adjustments made to PSA levels that take this into account. The reason they go up as you age is not related to prostate cancer actually, but to a disease called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. This is an enlargement of the prostate and as obviously as your prostate gets bigger, your chance of having PSA levels higher as you age increases. So therefore, men that get older typically have higher PSA levels. So the PSA age change is indeed a true one for most men as they age.
The question of how often you should have your PSA level done really depends upon your age. I think we should begin testing PSA levels in men in their 40s so we know what the baseline is. What's normal for one individual, not a whole population, but for you? And then follow this over a period of time. So maybe in the beginning every five years and then every two years and then maybe, depending on what the rate is, maybe you only have to have it done every several years or if your rate is increasing by a lot, maybe it needs to be done every year.