WHAT IS A PSA TEST?
The group believes that all men over the age of 50 (or over 45 if they have relevant disease history) should be offered screening for possible prostate problems including Prostate Cancer using a risk-weighted PSA test.
PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen which, if present in a blood sample at an elevated level, can show the presence of prostate problems. It is true that the PSA test alone is not a reliable indication of the presence (or absence) of Prostate Cancer. This is one of the reasons why the NHS does not offer a PSA screening service to all men across the board in the same way that screening for Breast and Cervical Cancer is routinely offered to all women. The group constantly tries to persuade the authorities that routine prostate screening should be offered to all men.
Some years ago, the Group made the decision to provide a PSA screening service to men and started to organise walk-in PSA testing sessions in village halls and premises of local groups such as golf clubs, cricket clubs and Masonic Lodges. All we ask is a donation of £10 which partially covers the cost of the test. You can see the next few event dates coming up in the purple box to the right of this screen. See Calendar for full details of all our future events. PSA screening is done in association with the Graham Fulford Charitable Trust. Men who have not been tested with us before are given an information sheet that gives full details of the pros and cons of screening using PSA. We want to ensure that men are making an informed choice about progressing to have the blood sample taken. We also offer counselling prior to the test. Click here to see the information sheet.
When a man attends one of our sessions, he reports to the Registration Desk where one of our volunteers explains what is going to happen and then directs him to one of our data entry assistants. Until recently, each man was asked to complete a paper questionnaire and consent form. Now, the data entry assistant helps the man get started using a tablet device linked to our database. If the man prefers, the assistant can work the screen, but the system is designed to be used by anyone. The data will be passed to the Graham Fulford Trust for assessment.
When the data has been checked, the man will be asked to wait his turn to sit with one of our qualified phlebotomists who will take a blood sample. After the session, samples are taken by courier to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory sends their results to the Graham Fulford Trust where they are matched against the Health Questionnaire data sent previously. If a man has been tested with us before, his PSA history will used in the assessment. Experts at the Graham Fulford Trust use the PSA level of the blood sample and the answers to the health questionnaire to determine whether or not any elevation in PSA level requires investigation by a GP.
The laboratory analysis and producing screening results take some days, but we aim to post and/or email full screening results to each man within a fortnight.
Click here to see photos taken at a recent testing session.
Note that we provide neither a positive nor negative diagnosis of Prostate Cancer. We can only inform you of the risk that you have Prostate Cancer or not. It is up to you whether you choose to follow up our test result with your GP. To help simplify the result, each letter is graded with one of three "traffic light" statuses indicating your personal risk category.
Green – indicating the result was 'normal' within our guidelines. No immediate need for action. Re-test in 12 months may be recommended.
Amber – indicating the result was outside the 'normal' range with a possible need for action. An "Amber Alert" letter has also been introduced, which means that, although the PSA level is not yet at Amber status, our data has predicted that the next PSA test the man will be rated Amber.
Red – indicating the result was significantly outside the 'normal' range of our guidelines and we advise seeing a doctor to discuss.
As well as explaining how our guidelines work, the letter provides contact details of how you may obtain further explanation or advice.
Statistics about the results from our PSA screening sessions are maintained in the form of the numbers of Red, Amber and Green letters issued at each session. Click here to see results from recent sessions.
BMJ CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES
You can see a diagram explaining the British Medical Journal's recommendations "Prostate Cancer Screening with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) : A clinical practice guideline" on the BMJ website at https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k3581.
No upcoming events.