Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: About This Test

Skip Navigation
Location of prostate below bladder and next to rectum, showing urethra passing through prostate.

What is it?

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the amount of PSA in your blood. PSA is released into the blood by the prostate, which is part of the male reproductive system. A high PSA level may mean that you have an enlargement, infection, or cancer of the prostate.

Why is this test done?

You may have this test to:

  • Check for prostate cancer.
  • Watch prostate cancer and see if treatment is working.
  • Follow up after prostate cancer treatment to watch for any signs of the cancer coming back.

How do you prepare for the test?

Do not ejaculate during the 2 days before your PSA blood test, either during sex or masturbation. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away. It depends on the reason for the test.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter H964 in the search box to learn more about "Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: About This Test".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.