The prostate cancer test, PSA, can give false readings if the man has ejaculated in the previous two days. The test can produce a false positive reading, which can lead to unnecessary prostate biopsy, a surgical test for cancer, if the man has recen

Researchers have discovered that men over 40 had very high PSA (prostate specific antigens) levels immediately after ejaculating and this started to fall significantly only six hours later. Most of the men studied had normal PSA levels only two days later.

The head of the study team, Joseph Oesterling, from the University of Michigan, is recommending that all men abstain from ejaculating for at least two days before a PSA test (Urology 1996; 47: 511-6).

Do black men have naturally higher PSA levels than white men? This simple biological fact could be the reason why prostate cancer is 50 per cent higher in the black population, doctors from the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center suggest. At every age group, researchers found the PSA levels were higher than in white men, and this became extreme in those aged over 70 where the levels were 1.6 times greater.

!AThe Lancet, May 11, 1996.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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