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Is Total PSA 9.6 ng/ml dangerous?

Is Total PSA 9.6 ng/ml dangerous?

In this article we discuss what a total PSA level of 9.6 means, together with its grading, causes, and whether it is good, bad or dangerous.

Updated Date : 2024-02-03T14:02:06.297+00:00

What is PSA?

Picture Total PSA, or Total Prostate Specific Antigen, as a hormonal messenger from the prostate gland to a man's bloodstream. In healthy conditions, it's present in minimal amounts, but elevated levels could be a sign of diseases, such as cancers.

How is PSA measured?

Measuring PSA involves drawing a small blood sample using a syringe or needle and analyzing it with automated analyzers in the laboratory. It's important to be aware that different analyzers may produce slightly varying results. Studies have shown that the ECLIA technique tends to generate higher results than the CMIA technique, with an average difference of 0.8 ug/L. To ensure consistency, it's advisable to stick with one lab and one specific measurement technique for monitoring your PSA levels.

What is the normal range of PSA and how is a PSA of 9.6 graded?

Normal Ranges of Total PSA levels vary according to age and ethnicity. Various studies have found considerable variation in the normal range depending upon country and ethnicity.
Age Group US Whites Asians - Chinese European - Spanish Asians - Indians
Younger than 40 years No data No data <1.4(Your value is 586% above normal) <0.71(Your value is 1252% above normal)
40-49 years <2.1(Your value is 357% above normal) <2.15(Your value is 347% above normal) <1.7(Your value is 465% above normal) <0.85(Your value is 1029% above normal)
50-59 years <3.6(Your value is 167% above normal) <3.20(Your value is 200% above normal) <3.3(Your value is 191% above normal) <1.13(Your value is 750% above normal)
60-69 years <1.3(Your value is 638% above normal) <4.10(Your value is 134% above normal) <5.18(Your value is 85% above normal) <1.45(Your value is 562% above normal)
70-79 years <5.8(Your value is 66% above normal) <5.37(Your value is 79% above normal) No Data <1.84(Your value is 422% above normal)
80 years and older No data No data No data <2.35(Your value is 309% above normal)

Is a PSA of 9.6 dangerous?

A Total PSA level of 9.6 cannot be called 'good'. This is because values >= 4 have typically been designated as the cut-off for futher investigation, monitoring and in some cases - biopsy. Whether a value of 9.6 is to be considered worrying or dangerous depends on various factors as listed below.

What are the less dangerous causes of an elevated PSA level of 9.6?

Cancer is not the only cause of a raised PSA level. An elevated PSA can have various non-cancerous, and hence less dangerous causes. Each of these causes should be evaluated as well.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Enlargement of the prostate gland.


PSA levels naturally tend to increase with age.


PSA levels can rise after ejaculation.

Prostate Biopsy

Recent prostate biopsy can temporarily elevate PSA levels.

Trauma or Injury

Physical trauma to the prostate region.

Post-Radiation Therapy

PSA levels can temporarily rise after radiation treatment.


Certain medications, like finasteride or dutasteride, can affect PSA levels.


A medical procedure involving the insertion of a tube into the bladder.

Vigorous Exercise

Strenuous physical activity can elevate PSA temporarily.

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

A recent prostate examination may cause a transient rise.


Use of a catheter for urinary issues.

Inflammation in the Body

Systemic inflammation can affect PSA levels.

Can A Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) tell you if a PSA of 9.6 is dangerous?

Can A Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) tell you if a PSA of 9.6 is dangerous?

A digital rectal examination is a technique by which a doctor palpates your prostate gland with his/her fingers. Digital Rectal Examination is usually done when you have complaints of an enlarged prostate and its associated symptoms.

Is a digital rectal examination necessary for a PSA level of 9.6?

Any total PSA value above 4 usually warrants further investigation, and as such, your level of 9.6 should be accompanied by a DRE.

How is a Digital Rectal Examination Done?

In a digital rectal examination, the doctor will gently insert a lubricated finger into the rectum to assess the prostate's health, checking for any irregularities or changes.

Is a Digital Rectal Examination painful?

A digital rectal examination is typically not painful, but individuals may feel a brief moment of pressure or mild discomfort during the procedure.

How does the result of a Digital Rectal Examination affect danger with a total PSA of 9.6?

A digital rectal examination is usually done when investigating patients for prostate health. Research shows that a positive DRE - when the doctor can feel nodules or hardening of your prostate, is associated with a higher risk of cancer. The table below elucidates describes your risk for a PSA of 9.6

Digital Rectal Examination - Normal Digital Rectal Examination - Suspicious/Abnormal
Your risk of cancer is 12% - 32% Your risk of cancer is 42% - 72%

What was your previous PSA value?

What was your previous PSA value?

While deciding whether a PSA of 9.6 is dangerous, we need to track how fast it changes over time. An increase in PSA value of more than 20% over a period of 6 months to 2 years, is usually not a good sign.

Why is the change in PSA values over time important?

As per research, a fast increasing PSA values is more likely to be a fast growth, of some kind, which includes the possibility of cancer. Hence tracking the change in the value over time is important.

Over what period of time can the change be tracked?

In various studies, values upto 2 years ago were included while tracking the change in the value. So any previous value of PSA upto 2 years, ago, can be used to track the rate of change.

Should the two values be from the same laboratory?

PSA values can differ significantly depending on the method or technology used to measure them. It is absolutely essential to use the same lab and same method of measurement for serial measurements.

How much has your PSA level changed over time?

Based on research 2, the percentage change in your PSA value over time, has a direct bearing on the probability of cancer. If you have had your PSA done at any time in the past 2 years, the change in the value compared to today, can be very helpful in deciding what to do next. The table below assumes different values for your PSA level in the past and compares them with the present level.

Your previous PSA value What it means
Your previous PSA level was Less than or equal to 7.7 Higher risk of cancer - your PSA has increased by more than or equal to 20%, this is a bad prognostic indicator.
Your previous PSA level was Greater than 7.7 Lower risk of cancer - Your PSA has not increased by at least 20%, and this means it is not rapidly increasing, implying a good prognostic sign.
Greater than or equal to current 9.6 Good sign - your PSA is either stable or reducing.

With a PSA level of 9.6, what is your Prostate Volume?

Prostate volume is measured by your radiologist using an Ultrasound scan or USG. It can also be measured by MRI. Prostate volume can be used to decide whether you are at a greater risk, in the presence of a PSA level of 9.6

Why does prostate volume matter with a PSA of 9.6?

Prostate volume increases in both bening and cancerous growths. The amount of growth differs. In cancers, contrary to what we might expect, the total volume is lower, than in benign conditions.

What is the volume of your prostate?

Prostate volume is usually measured using Ultrasound(USG) or MRI or both. The volume of the prostate is a useful indicator, to tell the difference between normal enlargement and a cancer. This is because, a lower prostate volume, with a higher value of PSA is more likely to harbour a cancer. The table below gives you a summary.

Risk of Cancer with different prostate volumes for PSA levels 9.6 ng/ml
Prostate Volume Risk
3.3 - 24.5 ml Highest Risk
24.5 - 45.7 Higher Risk
45.7 mL - 58.2 ml Hard to predict
45.7ml - 66.9ml Lower Risk
66.9 - 81ml Lower Risk
>81ml Lowest Risk

What is your PSA density

PSA Density is basically your PSA level divided by your prostate volume. It has been proven to be useful in estimating risk associated with PSA levels above 4 ng/ml.

How is prostate density measured?

Prostate density needs both the volume and the level of PSA. So you will need a blood test to measure your PSA level and an ultrasound or MRI to measure the volume of your prostate.

Why does prostate density matter with a PSA of 9.6?

Prostate density attempts to combine the level of PSA and the size of the prostate to eliminate variables associated with both. The ratio can be used to predict prostate cancers.

Do you know your PSA Density?

The PSA density is a ratio calculated by dividing the PSA level by the volume of the prostate. It is often used to decide whether a patient with other suspicious findings should go ahead for a prostatic biopsy. A higher density has been associated with a higher risk of cancer. The table below depicts different PSA densities for your PSA level of 9.6.

Prostate Volume PSA Density Risk
20 0.5 Higher Risk
25 0.4 Higher Risk
30 0.3 Higher Risk
35 0.3 Higher Risk
40 0.2 Higher Risk
45 0.2 Higher Risk
50 0.2 Higher Risk
55 0.2 Higher Risk
60 0.2 Higher Risk
65 0.1 Lower Risk
70 0.1 Lower Risk
75 0.1 Lower Risk
80 0.1 Lower Risk
85 0.1 Lower Risk
90 0.1 Lower Risk
95 0.1 Lower Risk
100 0.1 Lower Risk

Why do Free PSA levels matter with a total PSA of 9.6

Free PSA is a component of the total PSA that has significance in predicting the risk of cancer.

How does free PSA differ from Total PSA?

Total PSA is a comprehensive measure, while Free PSA hones in on the unbound portion, offering nuanced information in prostate cancer assessment.

How is free PSA measured?

Free PSA measurement involves calculating the percentage of unbound Prostate-Specific Antigen in relation to the total PSA.

What was the result of your free PSA Level?

Free PSA is a subset of the total PSA measurement. It needs to be measured seperately, and is an independent test. The ratio of free PSA/ total PSA has been shown to help diagnose cancers. A low ratio, or lower percentage of free PSA is associated more commonly with cancers. As such, for values of total PSA between 4 and 10 , the %free PSA, may be useful in determining danger. The following table, estimates different values of %free PSA, for your value of total PSA of 9.6.

Free PSA %Free PSA Risk
0.7 7 Higher Risk
1.2 12 Higher Risk
1.5 16 Higher Risk
1.9 20 Lower Risk
2.4 25 Lower Risk
2.9 30 Lower Risk

Family History with a PSA Level of 9.6

Family history plays an important role in assesing the risk of cancern with PSA levels above 4.

Why is family history important while evaluating PSA?

There is evidence for genetic tendencies for prostate cancer.

Do you have any relatives with Prostate Cancer?

Irrespective of the value of Total PSA, men with at least one first-degree relative, who had prostate cancer, have a 10-15% higher chance of developing prostate cancer. Thus with a total PSA level of 9.6, knowing your family history could be useful.

Dr.Bhargav Raut - Profile Image

Reviewed By -

Dr.Bhargav Raut is a qualified Pathologist, with over 5 years of experience in the field
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