MyHealthTest has launched a prostate blood test service to help men monitor their prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
The new test means the Australian at-home pathology provider is now offering four fingerprick blood test services: Diabetes (HbA1c), Thyroid (TSH) and Prostate (PSA).
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85.
While a raised PSA level is not a diagnosis of cancer, the test can be used as an indicator of a potential problem.
Because PSA levels can vary, doctors often use results from several tests over time to help determine the risk of prostate cancer.
PSA is the first line test to check for prostate cancer
While there are questions about the use of PSA as a screening test for prostate cancer, it’s still the standard first-line test for prostate cancer in Australia.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, men over the age of 50, or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, should talk to their doctor about testing for prostate cancer using the PSA test as part of their annual health check-up.
PSA tests are also used to keep an eye on low-risk prostate cancer
Some men who are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer choose to go onto a program of active surveillance – where they monitor their PSA levels over time – rather than undergo cancer treatment straight away.
In this instance, regular PSA blood tests are used to check any cancer activity.
Some men choose to go onto a program of active surveillance, when the (adverse) side effects of prostate cancer treatment may have greater impact on their quality of life than the cancer itself.
For men living with low-risk prostate cancer in rural or remote areas, a fingerprick blood test service – which is mailed directly to them – is an especially convenient and time-saving option. They don’t need to make appointments, travel or take time away from work or home.
At-home tests help to monitor and manage health conditions
MyHealthTest General Manager Dr Nick Cerneaz said the new Prostate (PSA) Test Service was an important development as the company expanded its services to help more people monitor and manage their health.
“Our at-home test services are designed to make blood testing easy and convenient, allowing our customers and their healthcare providers to view, track and share results on a secure platform,” Dr Cerneaz said.
“This improved access to testing means health issues can be detected early and consumers can work with their doctor to prevent or minimise the impact of potentially debilitating conditions.”
MyHealthTest’s fingerprick blood testing only needs a few spots of blood placed onto a collection card, which is then mailed back to its Canberra-based pathology laboratory. Individuals receive their results via a secure website, which they can share with their healthcare professional.
The fingerprick blood testing service is a convenient at-home alternative to having whole blood taken at a local pathology centre.
This method of dried blood spot sampling has been extensively validated and is comparable to testing with traditional blood samples.