Activity Restrictions Prior To PSA Testing

Last Modified: February 17, 2011

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What steps should be taken prior to a PSA test? More specifically, are there any restrictions or recommendations on food or activity? Thank you.

Answer

Alan J. Wein, MD, Professor and Chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

There are no specific restrictions or recommendations on foods consumed prior to PSA testing. As far as activity goes, I advise no ejaculation for a day prior and no rectal exams that day prior to the PSA being drawn. Studies examining the effect of ejaculation on serum PSA have shown varying effects. In men aged 30-40 years or younger, both no change and a significant decrease have been reported. However, in the age group in which PSA testing is primarily used for early detection of prostate cancer (50 years and older), ejaculation can lead to an increase in PSA level but could result in a false positive elevation.

John Christodouleas, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Penn Medicine, responds:

We typically do not restrict food or activity prior to a standard screening or follow up PSA. However, if someone has a concerning PSA elevation compared to a prior value and a repeat PSA is ordered as confirmation, we may request that a patient avoid ejaculation or any direct trauma to the prostate (e.g. digitive rectal exam, receptive anal intercourse) within the prior 2-3 days.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Prostate cancer treatment: where are we now?