UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
vial of blood and PSA test report results

The PSA blood test is used to help diagnose prostate cancer. The test is a valuable and potentially life-saving screening test for many men, as well as transgender women. Prostate cancer kills more men than any other cancer except lung cancer.

However, the PSA test is an imperfect test. It cannot reliably tell the difference between slow-growing prostate cancers that do not pose any serious health risks and fast-growing cancers that are less common but more deadly. Men with low-risk cancers may then be subjected to unnecessary tests, such as prostate biopsies. They may also undergo unnecessary treatments (for example, surgery, radiation therapy) that may cause upsetting side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. 

In general, all cancer screenings are beneficial. But when the risks associated with testing outweigh the potential benefits, the test may actually do more harm than good. For this reason, the PSA test is typically only recommended for men at high risk for prostate cancer due to their age or other risk factors. 

How can you know whether you should get a PSA test or not?  “Screening for prostate cancer is an individual decision that a man should make with his doctor’s help based on factors such as his level of risk, overall health, life expectancy and willingness to undergo treatment in the event of a prostate cancer diagnosis,” said UChicago Medicine urologist Omer Raheem, MD.  

Learn more about PSA testing in the following Q&A:

Request an Appointment for a PSA Test

UChicago Medicine offers PSA tests at several locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Request an appointment with a primary care physician to discuss if PSA testing is right for you by:


Walter Stadler, MD, medical oncologist

Cancer Care Second Opinions

Request a second opinion with a UChicago Medicine urologic cancer expert.

genetic testing illustration

High Risk & Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinic

Focused care for men at risk for prostate cancer and those with advanced disease.

researcher in cancer lab

Participate in a Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial

UChicago Medicine physician-scientists are actively conducting clinical trials of new therapies for prostate cancer.