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Last updated May 4, 2020. 1 minute read

What is normal PSA by age?

Normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels are <2.6 ng/mL, although some use a higher cutoff of 4.0 ng/dL for older men. The PSA test is controversial because it could lead to overtreatment (therefore causing more harm than good).

Dr Mike Bohl Md Mph Written by Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH
Reviewed by Dr. Tzvi Doron, DO

Normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels are <2.6 ng/mL, although some use a higher cutoff of 4.0 ng/dL for older men

PSA is a protein that is produced in the prostate gland in men. An elevated PSA level can be an indication of a prostate problem, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), or prostate cancer. Historically, PSA levels have been used to screen individuals for prostate cancer. However, there is controversy about doing this test because it could lead to overtreatment (therefore causing more harm than good). If you are interested in having your PSA levels checked, talk to a healthcare provider about the pros and cons. You can read more about PSA here.

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What we mean by normal

In medicine, using the term “normal” can sometimes be off-putting. Saying something is “normal” implies that everything else is “abnormal.” Additionally, saying something is “normal” may not be accurate, since something that is “normal” for you may not be “normal” for somebody else. Therefore, instead of saying certain values are “normal,” alternative terminology may be to say that these values are “healthy” or “within the reference range.”
 
Additionally, some values have well-defined cutoffs, while others do not. For example, when looking at hemoglobin A1c levels, a value of 6.5 or greater is always diagnostic of diabetes. On the other hand, when looking at testosterone levels, some use cutoffs of 270–1,070 ng/dL while others use cutoffs of 300–1,000 ng/dL.
 
The information below represents values that are commonly used as cutoffs. However, depending on the specific source you’re looking at or the laboratory you go to, their values may be a little different.