What Happens During A Digital Rectal Exam
Your health care provider will insert a gloved finger into the rectum and feel the prostate for hard, lumpy, or abnormal areas. The test takes only a few minutes to complete.
You may feel slight, momentary discomfort during the test. The procedure does not cause significant pain or any damage to the prostate.
When Should I Get Tested
Visit Am I at Risk? to learn more. All men are at risk of prostate cancer, so it is important to talk with your doctor to make an informed decision. Check out our recommended age and testing guidelines, which are based on the NCCN provided recommendations.
Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of living longer. In fact, more than 99 percent of men survive prostate cancer when it is caught early.
Watch prostate cancer experts, Dr. Lowentritt and Dr. Siegel in this video discuss detection and diagnosis:
What Is Screening For Prostate Cancer
Some men get a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor, learn what is involved, and decide if a PSA test is right for you.
Cancer screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if not treated, and to find them early before they spread.
There is no standard test to screen for prostate cancer. Two tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer are described below.
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Should I Have A Psa Test
If you have no symptoms of prostate cancer and are thinking about having a PSA test, you should ask your doctor about the risks and benefits.
While some studies suggest PSA reduces mortality on a population basis, the test picks up large numbers of cancers that would have caused no symptoms or harm in the patient. This is known as overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer can lead to unnecessary treatments that have side effects such as sexual impotence, urinary incontinence and bowel problems.
It is important to balance the potential benefit of detecting a prostate cancer early against the risk that detection and treatment may not be necessary. Treatment may affect your lifestyle but it may also save your life.
Make your own decision about whether to be tested after a discussion with your doctor. Ensure you get good quality information to make an informed decision.
Screening tests for breast, bowel and cervical cancer can save lives, but there is still confusion around PSA testing for prostate cancer. Find more information here.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.
Causes Of Prostate Cancer
The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. But certain things can increase your risk of developing the condition.
The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.
For reasons not yet understood, prostate cancer is more common in black men and less common in Asian men.
Men whose father or brother were affected by prostate cancer are at slightly increased risk themselves.
Recent research also suggests that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer.
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What Age Should I Get A Prostate Exam
Prostate exams are an essential basic health screening test that everyone at risk of prostate cancer should consider. Current American Cancer Society guidelines suggest that men over the age of 50 should speak with their primary care physician about getting screened routinely for prostate cancer. This guideline may change depending on your risk for prostate cancer.
When Should I Have A Prostate Check
Generally, if you aged 50 years or older and have any urinary symptoms, you should let your doctor know. They will discuss with you whether or not you should have a prostate check.
- blood in your pee.
If you have no symptoms, it is recommended that you get checked if you:
- you are a man aged 5070 years old but dont have any family history
- you are a man aged 4070 years old and your father or brother has had prostate cancer
- you are a man aged more than 70 years old and you have family history of prostate cancer or you have had an abnormal PSA test previously, and you have a life expectancy of more than 10 years.
Having a prostate check is your decision. The tests for prostate cancer can be uncomfortable but they may reduce your chance of being harmed or dying from prostate cancer.
If your test results suggest you are at risk of cancer, you will need to decide whether to have further testing and possibly treatment. In making this decision, you will need to consider whether your quality of life will be better living with a slow growing cancer than having treatments, which may cause you more harm than the cancer ever will.
Your doctor can help you weigh up the benefits and risks of being tested, by taking into consideration factors such as your age and family history.
Video: The prostate specific antigen test: to test or not to test? Michael Evans and Reframe Health Films Inc, 2014
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Information For Well Men Aged 50 And Over
You can refer to the infographic above and direct patients to the information sheet for well men aged 50 and over for a summary of the potential benefits and risks of PSA testing.
The information sheet for well men includes the above infographic, which explains the PSA test. It also includes a list of the potential advantages and disadvantages of the PSA test for men to consider when making a decision.
The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities created this information on behalf of the NHS.
What Happens During A Prostate Exam
Prostate exams might be uncomfortable. Here is what to expect when you receive your first prostate exam. Prostate exams can include two major tests: the PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam .
PSA Blood Test
The PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. PSA is a protein that is produced by your prostate. Normally, your prostate produces only small amounts of PSA. However, if you have prostate cancer or diseases such as benign prostate hyperplasia , your prostate might release more amount of PSA. As such, high levels of PSA can indicate disease.
Digital Rectal Exam
The DRE exam is used to physically examine the size, shape, and texture of your prostate. In order to examine your prostate, your doctor will insert a lubricated, gloved, finger into your rectum to inspect your prostate. This exam should not be painful and will only last 1-2 minutes. Your doctor will be feeling for hard, lumpy, or other abnormalities of the prostate. Although slightly uncomfortable, this test can be extremely helpful for detecting prostate cancer at an early age.
During the exam, you will be asked to remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown. There are a number of possible positions to stay in but will completely depend on your physician and your own preference. For instance, you can lie on your side, bend over the table, or squat on the exam table. These options will be disclosed to you by your doctor.
How to Prepare for a Prostate Exam
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When Should Men Get A Prostate Exam
According to the American Cancer Society, men and people who were assigned male at birth should have their first prostate exam by age 50. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should consider having your first prostate exam at age 45.
Additionally, Black men are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with prostate cancer. For this reason, healthcare providers often recommend that Black men have their first prostate exam around age 45.
When To Get A Prostate Exam
Prostate cancer is a very common cancer in men who are 50 years of age or older. If detected early, the 10-year survival rate of prostate cancer is 98%. As a result, it is absolutely essential that you get a prostate exam at the correct time.
As previously mentioned, the ACS guidelines suggest that men who are 50 years or older should get screened for prostate cancer. However, for men who are at high risk of getting prostate cancer, this exam should be considered at age 45. Major risk factors for getting prostate cancer that might put an individual at high risk include:
- African American ethnicity
- A first-degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age
If you have more than one first-degree relative that was diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, you should consider speaking with your healthcare provider even earlier, at age 40.
Other Factors That Influence Psa Levels
The PSA blood test alone cannot diagnose prostate cancer. It is possible, although rare, to have prostate cancer without raised PSA levels in the blood. A higher-than-normal PSA level doesnt automatically indicate prostate cancer either. A high PSA level is due to cancer in around one in three cases.
PSA levels can be raised by other factors, including:
- , also known as benign prostatic enlargement .
For this reason, the PSA blood test isnt used in isolation when checking for prostate cancer.
Screening For Prostate Cancer
There is no national screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK. This is because there isnt a reliable test that can pick up prostate cancer that needs treatment at an early stage.
Overall research has shown that current tests dont reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer. Research is going on to find a new test. Or see if the current test is more effective if used in a different way and can find the cancers that need treatment more accurately.
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How Do Men Feel About The Rectal Exam
I think most men are willing to do it, but some men are exceptionally opposed to it. They might be happy to hear that there are studies ongoing in the United Kingdom looking at using magnetic resonance imaging as a screening tool to be able to avoid doing a digital rectal exam in the future. There is a large African immigrant population in London with a higher incidence of prostate cancerthey didnt want to have the prostate exam because they had a lot of opposition to it. They were uncomfortable with it.
What Does The Psa Test Involve
The PSA test involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The results indicate:
- Normal levels: Most healthy adult males have PSA levels below 4 nanograms per milliliter .
- Borderline levels: PSA levels of 410 ng/ml are borderline. There is a 25% chance that cancer is present, and the person will usually need additional tests.
- High levels: If PSA levels are over 10 ng/ml, there is a 50% chance that the person has prostate cancer. The specialist will likely recommend more testing, including a prostate biopsy.
It is important to note that PSA levels can naturally vary from person to person. A person with high levels may not have prostate cancer. On the other hand, about 15% of people who test positive for prostate cancer after a biopsy have PSA levels below 4 ng/ml.
Prostate cancer is not the only cause of high PSA levels. Find out more about the other causes here.
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What Is The Psa Test
PSA stands for prostate specific antigen. Its a protein made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells. It’s normal for all men to have some PSA in their blood.
A high level of PSA can be a sign of prostate cancer. But your PSA level can also be raised because of other conditions that aren’t cancer. This includes:
- a urine infection
- a benign enlarged prostate
The PSA test can also miss some prostate cancers. Research has shown that 1 in 7 men with a normal PSA level have prostate cancer. And that 1 in 50 men with a normal PSA level have a fast growing prostate cancer.
Because of this, the PSA test on its own is not recommended as a screening test for prostate cancer. But men over 50 can usually ask their GP for a PSA blood test if they want. Your GP will explain the potential benefits and risks of having a PSA test.
What Should I Expect During A Prostate Exam
As mentioned above, there are two types of screenings that your healthcare provider may use to detect prostate cancer: a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam . Research shows that the PSA blood test is more effective for detecting prostate cancer. However, the DRE can still find cancer in people with normal PSA levels. For this reason, many healthcare providers recommend both.
Neither test confirms you have prostate cancer, which is why theyre considered screening assessments rather than diagnostic tests.
PSA blood test
For this test, your healthcare provider simply draws a sample of your blood and sends it to a lab for analysis. The PSA blood test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in your blood.
There is no official cutoff score that can determine whether or not you have prostate cancer. Instead, the results are used as a gauge to determine if more testing is needed.
Digital rectal exam
During a DRE, your healthcare provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum. This way, they can feel your prostate to see if there are any lumps or bumps on the back portion of the gland .
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Advising Men Without Symptoms Of Prostate Disease Who Ask About The Psa Test
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: .
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prostate-specific-antigen-testing-explanation-and-implementation/advising-well-men-about-the-psa-test-for-prostate-cancer-information-for-gps
This prostate cancer risk management programme information helps GPs give clear and balanced information to asymptomatic men who ask about prostate specific antigen testing. The PSA test is available free to any man aged 50 and over who requests it.
GPs should use their clinical judgement to manage asymptomatic men and those aged under 50 who they consider to be at increased risk of prostate cancer.
GPs should follow National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline NG12 for the management of men who have symptoms of prostate disease.
How To Check Prostate Cancer
When youre checking for prostate cancer, its important to know the symptoms. When youre aware of the signs, prostate cancer can be caught early. Because prostate cancer doesnt typically show signs early on, this particular cancer is typically found through PSA blood test or digital rectal exams.
But, there are typically five major warning signs of prostate cancer however, as cancer progresses, symptoms typically involve the urinary system. Because the prostate is located close to the urethra and bladder, symptoms might include 1 :
- Frequent urination
- Hip or back pain
- Leg swelling or weakness
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms. And if you do catch any of these symptoms, try not to panic. These particular symptoms can often have to do with non-cancerous conditions of the prostate, as well as bladder infections.
Its important to know that there are also several different types of prostate cancer. The most common types found in prostate cancer patients include:
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What Is The Chance Of A Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer
Around 17,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in Australia. It affects mostly men in older age groups and is rare in men under 50 years of age.
The chance of developing prostate cancer is significantly higher in men who have a close relative with prostate cancer the risks are higher if the relative was diagnosed before the age of 60.
If you have a family history of prostate cancer, talk to your doctor.
What Is A Prostate Exam
A prostate exam is a screening method used to look for early signs of prostate cancer. In general, a prostate exam includes a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam .
During the digital rectal exam portion, your healthcare provider carefully inserts their gloved finger into your rectum. This allows them to feel the edges and surface of your prostate gland to detect any potential abnormalities.
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What Do You Want Men To Know About Prostate Cancer
The important thing to know is that, if you live long enough, you will probably get prostate cancer. If you live into your 80s, about 80 percent of men have some sort of prostate cancer. That doesnt mean theyre going to die from prostate cancer because, as a percentage, very few men die from prostate cancer. It means its important to be aware of it and consider screening early, so if its a high-grade type, we can identify it and treat it.