About Abnormal Digital Rectal Exam

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer and Related Conditions with a Digital Rectal Exam

At MiVIP Surgery Centers, we are focused on ensuring that our patients are healthy head to toe. We’re here to help with diagnosis and treatment of the condition as quickly as possible. A digital rectal exam, or DRE, is vital for detecting prostate cancer and other prostate conditions. Within a short window following your exam, you can have a clearer picture regarding your prostate health and how to move forward.

How Effective Are Digital Rectal Exams?

The American Cancer Society reported that prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in men living in America. Every year approximately 240,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and over 8 percent of those individuals will lose their life to the disease. Yet, with early detection and treatment, we can save many more lives.

Common Conditions Found Following DRE

During a DRE, the physician will insert a finger into the rectum to screen for abnormalities in the prostate gland, a walnut-sized organ that is situated in front of the rectum. The following conditions may be found:

  • Prostate Cancer – Abnormal growths and cancerous tissue.
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – An enlarged prostate.
  • Prostate Infection – Bacterial infections may cause the prostate to be warm, very tender and swollen.
  • Prostatic Stones – Calcification of the prostate is hard to diagnose via a DRE, but this test may be used to screen for stones.

Signs of an Abnormal Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

A normal digital rectal exam will find a smooth prostate that is not hard, raised or swollen. An abnormal exam may find the following:

  • Enlarged prostate
  • An area on the prostate that is harder than the surrounding tissue
  • A bump or nodule on the prostate
  • Increased tenderness when touched

Screening Options for Prostate Cancer and Other Prostate Conditions

If your DRE is abnormal, your doctor will perform a biopsy. During prostate biopsies, various specimens of the prostate tissue will be removed via hollow needles. The biopsy is then sent to a pathologist who will check it for cancer.

Your doctor will likely perform a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test as well. This is a blood test that looks for elevated PSA, which is generally a symptom of prostate cancer. Your urologist is likely to recommend a biopsy if you have had a normal PSA result, but a bump or other abnormality has been detected on your prostate during the digital rectal exam.

Early Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Thanks to early screening tests, death as a result of prostate cancer has been reduced by approximately 37 percent in the past few years. The digital rectal exam can provide your doctor with essential information that can be used to treat prostate cancer before it is too late. With early treatment, most men who develop prostate cancer will outlive it. Additional diagnostic tests are being developed all the time, so please discuss other screening options with your urologist.

Contact miVIP Today

For additional information on digital rectal exam or PSA, or to schedule an evaluation today, contact miVIP Surgery Centers at 855-496-4847.