Prostate Cancer

The PSA test is a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer and measures prostate-specific antigens in the blood that are produced by cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate in men.  Order from Ulta Lab Tests today with results sent confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours.

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In men over 50 years with total PSA between 4.0 and 10.0 ng/mL, the percent (%) free PSA gives an estimate of the probability of cancer. In these circumstances the measurement of the % free PSA may aid in avoiding unnecessary biopsies. Elevated levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) have been associated with benign and malignant prostatic disorders. Studies indicate that in men 50 years or older measurement of PSA is a useful addition to the digital rectal exam in the early detection of prostate cancer. In addition, PSA decreases to undetectable levels following complete resection of the tumor and may rise again with recurrent disease or persist with residual disease. Thus, PSA levels may be of assistance in the management of prostate cancer patients.

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Elevated serum PSA concentrations have been reported in men with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and inflammatory conditions of the prostate.

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Dipstick urinalysis is important in accessing the chemical constituents in the urine and the relationship to various disease states. Microscopic examination helps to detect the presence of cells and other formed elements.

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

Culture, Urine, Routine 

Test Details


If culture is positive, CPT code(s): 87088 (each isolate) will be added with an additional charge.  Identification will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 87077 or 87140 or 87143 or 87147 or 87149).

Antibiotic susceptibilities are only performed when appropriate (CPT code(s): 87181 or 87184 or 87185 or 87186).

  • ORG ID 1. $ 12.45 
  • ORG ID 2. $ 23.95 
  • PRESUMPTIVE ID 1. $ 12.45 
  • PRESUMPTIVE ID 2. $ 23.95 
  • SUSC-1  $14.95 
  • SUSC-2  $28.95

Clinical Significance

Culture, Urine, Routine - This culture is designed to quantitate the growth of significant bacteria when collected by the Clean Catch Guidelines or from indwelling catheters.  Quantitative culturing of urine is an established tool to differentiate significant bacteruria from contamination introduced during voiding. This test has a reference range of less than 1,000 bacteria per mL. More than 95% of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are attributed to a single organism. Infecting organisms are usually present at greater that 100,000 per mL, but a lower density may be clinically important. In cases of UTI where more than one organism is present, the predominant organism is usually significant and others are probably urethral or collection contaminants. When multiple organisms are isolated from patients with indwelling catheters, UTI is doubtful and colonization likely.

The BUN/Creatinine ratio is useful in the differential diagnosis of acute or chronic renal disease. Reduced renal perfusion, e.g., congestive heart failure, or recent onset of urinary tract obstruction will result in an increase in BUN/Creatinine ratio. Increased urea formation also results in an increase in the ratio, e.g., gastrointestinal bleeding, trauma, etc. When there is decreased formation of urea as seen in liver disease, there is a decrease in the BUN/Creatinine ratio. In most cases of chronic renal disease the ratio remains relatively normal.

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Serum creatinine is useful in the evaluation of kidney function and in monitoring renal dialysis. A serum creatinine result within the reference range does not rule out renal function impairment: serum creatinine is not sensitive to early renal damage since it varies with age, gender and ethnic background. The impact of these variables can be reduced by an estimation of the glomerular filtration rate using an equation that includes serum creatinine, age and gender.

High concentrations of acid phosphatase are found in the prostate gland. Significant amounts are also found in platelets, bone, spleen, kidney and liver. Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP) is a component of total acid phosphates and is a major constituent in seminal fluid and is also secreted in the urine. PAP is normally found in serum in very low levels. PAP measurement has found clinical application in the management of prostatic cancer patients. Serum PAP measurements have been useful in monitoring remission or relapse of a prostatic malignancy and in assessing the effectiveness of various treatment regimes. Thus, normalization in serum PAP levels has been observed following successful therapeutic intervention, while recurrent or residual disease has been associated with elevated levels of PAP.

Clinical Significance

For post-prostatectomy patients. The lower limit of accurate quantification for this assay is 0.02 ng/mL. PSA values less than 0.02 ng/mL cannot be accurately measured and will be reported as less than 0.02 ng/mL. Specimens with PSA levels below the lower limit of accurate quantification should be considered as negative. In patients with a negative result for post-prostatectomy PSA, serial monitoring of PSA levels at regular intervals, along with physical examinations and other tests, may help to detect recurrent prostate cancer.

PSA, Post Prostatectomy with HAMA Treatment

Patient Preparation: Draw before rectal examination or biopsy procedure

Methodology: Immunochemiluminometric Assay (ICMA) 

Reference Range(s)

  • <0.10 ng/mL After radical prostatectomy
  • ≤4.0 ng/mLIn healthy males without prostatectomy
  • PSA values obtained with different assay methods or kits cannot be used interchangeably.


Elevated serum PSA concentrations have been reported in men with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and inflammatory conditions of the prostate.

This test is useful in the differential diagnosis of male hypogonadism. For males 18 years of age and older only. Pediatric and Female patients will need to order Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Due to changes in testosterone levels throughout the day, two morning (8:00-10:00 a.m.) specimens obtained on different days are recommended by The Endocrine Society for screening.

Please note: If Testosterone, Total, Males (Adult) Only #873 is ordered for a pediatric or female patient, the lab will automatically change the test to and charge for Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

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Urea is the principle waste product of protein catabolism. BUN is most commonly measured in the diagnosis and treatment of certain renal and metabolic diseases. Increased BUN concentration may result from increased production of urea due to (1) diet or excessive destruction of cellular proteins as occurs in massive infection and fevers, (2) reduced renal perfusion resulting from dehydration or heart failure, (3) nearly all types of kidney disease, and (4) mechanical obstruction to urine excretion such as is caused by stones, tumors, infection, or stricture. Decreased urea levels are less frequent and occur primarily in advanced liver disease and in overhydration

Every year in the United States nearly 250,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. This can be an extremely daunting time for them and their loved ones. However, an early diagnosis can have a huge impact on your treatment plan and chances of survival. 

An early diagnosis can put your 5-year survival rate at more than 99%! However, as the American cancer society will tell you, this is only possible if you get tested.

So how do you get a prostate cancer test, and what does this involve? If you are concerned about getting a PSA test, read on to find out more!

What is Prostate Cancer? 

Your prostate is an integral part of your body's reproductive system and produces the seminal fluid that transports sperm. It is a small gland that sits just below your bladder and in front of your rectum. 

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in America and affects this small gland. To begin with, most people will not notice it because symptoms can take a while to show up.

However, over time it can have a huge effect on your reproductive system. It can also alter the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in your blood. Without treatment, this cancer can spread and become fatal.

So why do some men develop prostate cancer?

What are the Causes of and Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?

There can be several different things that cause prostate cancer. Changes to your DNA as you age can increase your likelihood of developing it. This is why prostate cancer is especially common in men over the age of 60. 

Your diet can also affect your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Fatty foods stimulate hormones that support the growth of prostate cancer. So, watching what you eat can help protect your prostate. 

You may also have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer if you: 

  • Have a family history of it
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are a smoker
  • Have a high calcium intake 
  • Are of black ethnic origins
  • Are over the age of 50

Even if you do not fall into any of these categories, it is a good idea to check your prostate regularly, especially as you get older.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

It is not always possible to spot cancer affecting your prostate gland immediately. However, as prostate cancer develops, you will start to notice more symptoms. These can include: 

  • Having to urinate more frequently
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder or weak urine flow
  • The urge to urinate more frequently at night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Erectile dysfunction (that is newly onset)
  • Pain when urinating
  • Discomfort when sitting

If your cancer has spread, you may also experience pain across your back, hips, or thighs. You may also lose a lot of weight and find that you're more tired than usual.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to get a prostate cancer screening as soon as possible. There are several ways to do this.

PSA Lab Test for Prostate Cancer

A PSA test is a type of blood test that checks the amount of PSA in your blood. PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen, is a type of protein that your prostate gland produces. Even when you are healthy, some PSA leaks into your bloodstream. 

A raised PSA result can be a useful way of detecting prostate cancer. This is a quick way to spot early-stage prostate cancer. However, if your PSA is raised, it is also a good idea to get some further prostate cancer tests. 

A digital rectal examination (DRE) helps your doctor check your prostate. Because your prostate cannot be seen directly, your doctor inserts a gloved lubricated finger into your rectum to feel your prostate and check for enlargement.

If you or your doctor is concerned about your prostate, your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy. This involves taking a small tissue sample from your prostate using a thin needle. Your doctor will then examine these under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

FAQs About the Prostate Cancer Test

Getting your prostate checked for the first time can be a daunting experience. To help, here are some common questions that people have about prostate cancer testing. 

How Do You Prepare for a PSA Test? 

To prepare for a PSA test, you should: 

  • Not ejaculate or exercise heavily within the 48 hours leading up to your test
  • Ensure that you are clear of any urinary infections
  • Make sure that it has been at least 6 weeks since your last prostate biopsy

Do PSA Tests Have Any Side Effects? 

A PSA test is just like any routine blood test, so side effects are rare. If you are taking any medication you should speak to someone about this before having your blood tested. Some doctors may recommend pausing certain medication shortly before your test.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PSA Test Result Back? 

Usually, it takes between one and two weeks to get your test result back from the lab if you go through your doctor. With Ulta Lab Tests, you will receive your test results in one to two days.

What Happens If Your PSA Level is Raised? 

If you have a raised PSA level, this doesn't necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. This can also be an indication that you have an enlarged benign prostate.

However, it is a good idea to speak to a doctor as soon as possible to investigate this further. You should do this even if your PSA is normal but, you still have symptoms of prostate cancer. That way, if it is cancer, you can start your prostate cancer treatment early.

Get Your Prostate Checked Today

When it comes to getting a prostate cancer test you shouldn't wait around. Ulta Lab Tests offer extremely accurate and reliable testing so that you can make informed decisions about your health.

Our service provides secure and confidential results, and you don't need insurance or a medical referral. We are committed to providing affordable testing (which includes the doctor's order) and delivering a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Order your PSA test today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours. Take charge of your health and track your PSA test progress with Ulta Lab Tests today.

Prostate cancer is a condition characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells around and in the prostate gland. This is the organ responsible for producing prostate fluid, which makes part (70%) of semen produced in the testes.  This type of cancer affects cells responsible for generating the prostate fluid- hence known as adenocarcinomas.

According to research, 1 in 9 men is at risk of developing prostate cancer – this can happen at any point in his life. That said, prostate cancer is believed to be among the common types of cancer affecting men – this is after skin cancer.  At least 160,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States alone, with as many as 29,000 dying from the condition. This is according to statistics collected by the American Cancer Society (ACS)

While most types of prostate cancer are slow growing, some types grow and spread at a faster rate, hence more dangerous.  Slow-Growing cancer does not, however, pose a significant risk to most men.  Many older men, and even some younger ones, who died of other causes, also had slow-growing prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Most of these men had no idea they had prostate cancer in the first place.

Risk Factors

Among other risk factors, those from families with a history of prostate cancer, African American ethnicity, and aging men are at the highest risk of developing prostate cancer.  Studies also show that more than 60% of all prostate cancer patients are aged 65 years and above.

There is also more to learn about the link between genetics and prostate cancer. Men predisposed with specific disease-causing variants (BRCA1 and BRCA2), however, show an increased risk of developing prostate cancer as compared to other men. Such mutations, however, only occur in a small percentage of overall prostate cancers, one of the reasons most men aren’t tested for BRCA mutations.  Men who choose to be tested for such mutations, however, make screening and treatment options easier.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer may not spread to other parts. Hence it can be confined within the prostate gland for many years with few to no symptoms. Slow-growing types of prostate cancer will only start to show signs if the tumor mass is large enough to affect other parts, and especially the urethra.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • An interrupted or weak urine stream
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood and/or pus in semen or urine
  • A burning sensation (pain) when ejaculating or passing urine
  • Discomforts in the upper thighs, pelvis, and lower back

Most of the symptoms outlined here are common other health conditions as well. Other conditions, such as acute inflammation of the prostate, an STI, UTI (urinary tract infection), and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) will have similar symptoms.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is commonly mistaken for cancer, which isn’t the case.  The condition is very common with men over the age of 80 and only characterized by an enlargement of the prostate. Studies by the American Urological Association show that 90% of patients with BPH are over 80 years old.  Both BPH and Prostate cancer may, however, be found together, one of the reasons you should have tests done for both. The tests may involve a digital rectal exam (DRE), Lab tests (PSA), or a prostate biopsy.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Health experts recommend going for prostate cancer screening even before the signs and symptoms can show.  Men are also encouraged to discuss the pros and cons of screening with their health practitioners as well. This helps one make a more informed decision on the route to take.

The following tests will be done (recommended) should you choose to get screened:

  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) – The test involves testing your blood PSA levels.
  • Digital rectal exam (DRE) – This is a physical exam whereby the health practitioner examines the prostate gland manually. To do this, he/she must insert a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland, as well as to detect any abnormalities.


One’s risk of developing prostate cancer is the first and most important factor to consider, and especially if debating on whether to undergo screening or not. 

a. Average risk – This is for men with perfect health with no known risk factors

b. Increased risk – individuals of African American ethnicity, if a family member was diagnosed with prostate cancer before attaining the age of 65, and men with genetic variants (mutations)

c. High risk- Men with several relatives diagnosed with the condition

Other considerations, including potential benefits and disadvantages.

There is no guarantee that PSA testing will improve prostate cancer survival rates. This is because PSA tests alone aren’t enough to detect all types of prostate cancer. On the flip side, PSA screening makes it possible to detect cancer at its early stage, thus easier to contain.  This method of testing, however, helps men to be aware of their prostate-cancer status.

Reasons for elevated PSA levels

Although higher than normal PSA levels may raise a red flag for cancer, the elevated levels may be due to another condition. Inflammation of the prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia, etc. do trigger increased blood PSA levels.  These can cause a false-positive result leading to unnecessary tests, stress, and even prostate biopsy.

A repeat PSA test is, however, recommended to ascertain the initial result. The repeat tests should be done after some time for proper diagnosis.  Most healthcare practitioners will suggest having a series of PSAs done to not only detect the cause, but also determine if the levels remain the same, go down, or continue to increase. These tests are recommended to prevent overdiagnosis.

Should the tests reveal a series of elevated PSAs, or an elevated PSA, you will be required to decide to undergo biopsy.  A prostate biopsy is relatively safe, with only a small risk of bleeding, infection, and pain. You can read more on biopsies on Anatomic pathology.

Should you test positive for prostate cancer, consider:

While it is easy to detect prostate cancer, the tests do not tell if the tumor is slow-growing or not. Slow-growing prostate cancer doesn’t, however, have a significant effect on a man’s life expectancy or health. Treatments for the same (slow-growing cancer), however, have several adverse effects on him; these include incontinence and erectile dysfunction, among others.

Some men may choose to avoid treatment for slow-growing prostate cancer and instead opt for ‘active surveillance’ or ‘watchful waiting’ for the same. This approach involved getting PSA tests and digital rectal exams done every six months, as well as a prostate biopsy, is done annually to monitor how the cancer is progressing.

Some types of prostate cancer will grow or spread aggressively around the pelvic region and other parts of the body. A few of these slow-growing tumors may become symptomatic and large, hence require immediate attention. The main challenge, however, is detecting the type of prostate cancer, its growth rate, as well as how fast it spreads. Your health practitioner will, however, help you decide on the best mode of treatment and when to start.

Lab Tests

Lab tests come in handy in detecting prostate cancer, and to rule out health conditions/ailments that may make the situation worse. The tests can also be used to monitor and determine the effectiveness of the current mode of treatment.

Testing may include:

  • Total Prostate Specific Antigen – The tests are done to detect and monitor prostate cancer.  The health expert must evaluate tests based on the volume of the patient’s prostate and PSA levels in the blood.
  • Free PSA – There are two types of PSA in the blood: free PSA (fPSA), which isn’t bound, and complexed PSA (cPSA), which is linked to other proteins. Health experts test for fPSA to determine the need for biopsy to be done. The biopsy can only be done when the total PSA is slightly elevated. Most men with BPH will have higher levels of fPSA, while those with prostate cancer will have relatively lower amounts of the same. Low levels of fPSA increase the risk of cancer despite normal PSA levels.

A patient doesn’t necessarily have to undertake PSA tests to decide on whether he should undergo biopsy or not. New and upcoming testing methods help detect elevated PSA levels hence reduce discomfort, anxiety, and complications related to follow-up biopsies. These include:

  • [-2] proPSA – This test method helps identify the precursor of PSA.  These cells are produced at a higher rate as compared to benign prostate cells. The percentage of [-2] proPSA is relative to the total PSA levels and can be used to help determine if a biopsy is needed.
  • PCA3 protein – This protein is only produced in the prostate glands. This test, therefore, measures the level of PCA3 RNA in the patient’s urine.
  • TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion – This test helps detect gene rearrangement in one’s urine.  Gene rearrangement can be defined as the rate at which a piece of chromosomes breaks off to reattach itself to another. Gene rearrangement is evident in a little over 50% of all known types of prostate cancers. That said, testing the level of gene fusion may help one determine if prostate cancer is present or not.
  • Prostate health index (PHI) – This test involves combining results from other tests (proPSA, fPSA, and Total PSA) to determine a patient’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The results also help health experts determine the need for biopsy and especially where total PSA levels are higher than usual. Digital rectal examination may not be needed in phi tests.
  • P2PSA – This test involves measuring p2PSA levels in the blood. The percentage of p2PSA helps predict the probability of prostate cancer before the biopsy. This is recommended for men with elevated total PSA levels. Higher levels of p2PSA indicate the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Combining FPSA, total PSA, and p2PSA test results increase the accuracy of a prostate cancer diagnosis.

These tests are intended to help predict if biopsy would be useful in diagnosis. They thus cannot/shouldn’t be used to determine if one has prostate cancer or not.

Diagnosis and Staging

A prostate biopsy is the only sure way to diagnose prostate cancer. The process involves collecting prostate tissue for examination under the microscope to identify any abnormal cells. The healthcare practitioner uses imaging tests samples (from CT scan or MRI) to diagnose cancer, as well as determine how far it has spread into the body (stage).  The biopsy also helps determine how the cells appear as well. The health practitioner then assigns a Gleason Score based on the results, with the highest number showing advanced stage and such. Be sure to read more about prostate cancer biopsy on the ‘Understanding Your Pathology’ Report, in the Prostate Cancer from the American Cancer Society.

General Lab Tests

Additional tests may be required to ascertain the likelihood of prostate cancer, and to rule out possible other conditions with similar signs and symptoms. These include: