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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Prostate Cancer, Version 1.2016


Cancer staging

Digital rectal exam

Figure 4.

Digital rectal


Your prostate can be

felt through the wall

of your rectum. A

digital rectal exam is

a procedure during

which your doctor

will insert a finger

into your rectum to

feel your prostate.

Illustration Copyright © 2016 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.



The larger the prostate, the more PSA it can make.

Large prostates can be a result of cancer or other

health problems of the prostate. Some medicines

can also affect the PSA level. PSA increases after

ejaculations and vigorous exercise, especially running

or bicycling. Thus, refrain from sex and exercise for

3 days before a PSA test. Then the PSA test will be

more exact.

Digital rectal exam

Doctors use a DRE (






xam) to screen for

cancer, rate the cancer stage, and assess treatment

results. For this exam, your doctor will put a glove

on his or her hand and then put lubricant on his or

her index finger. Next, your doctor will insert a finger

into your rectum to feel your prostate as shown in

Figure 4.

Your prostate can be felt since it is on the

other side of the rectal wall. Bear in mind that not all

parts of the prostate can be felt on this exam.