Healthcare: Cancer Care

Digital Rectal Examination


Digital rectal examination (DRE) is performed with the man either bending over, lying on his side, or with his knees drawn up to his chest on the examining table.

The physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum and examines the prostate gland, noting any abnormalities in size, contour or consistency.

DRE is inexpensive, easy to perform, and allows the physician to note other abnormalities such as blood in the stool, which might suggest rectal or colon cancer. However, DRE alone is not the most effective method for early detection of cancer.