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Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) for Detecting Prostate Cancer

Undergoing a digital rectal examination (DRE) is the first step in the search for prostate cancer in men.

The procedure consists of the examination of the prostate by a doctor who inserts his or her finger into the rectum and palpates the prostate through the rectum wall.

Digital Rectal Examination for the Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

A digital rectal examination allows a doctor to detect any irregularities in the prostate, such as an increase in volume, which could be caused by the presence of a tumor.


Digital rectal examination is primarily recommended for men 50 years and older; once aged 50, men are advised to undergo this procedure once a year in order to detect the presence of prostate cancer as early as possible. Additionally, men who have a person diagnosed with prostate cancer in their families are recommended to monitor the state of their prostates.

N.B. A digital rectal examination can sometimes detect a cancer even when the value of one's PSA — a specific prostatic antigen that aids in cancer diagnosis diagnosis and in monitoring the development of prostate cancer — blood test is considered normal.

Image: © Paul Catalin - Shutterstock.com
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