DRE and Prostate Cancer

27th March 2020

A digital rectal examination (DRE) is a useful screening tool, which can be used in conjunction with a PSA test, to help determine if a patient should be referred on a prostate cancer pathway. Prostate cancers may not necessarily secrete PSA; and so a PSA alone may be falsely reassuring. Thus, a DRE can form an important part of the prostate cancer investigation process.

The examination:

All practitioners should be able to perform a DRE, as the prostate is positioned close to the anal vert, therefore the length of fingers do not restrict the examination. During a DRE, practitioners should assess the prostate to see if it is significantly:

Jagged
Hard
Irregular, as opposed to smooth.

 

Find out more:

Access GatewayC’s ‘Prostate Cancer – Responding to a PSA Screening Request’ course here

Access this BMJ learning module here

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