Common Questions: The Prostate
What is a digital rectal examination (DRE)?
The digital rectal examination (DRE) is the physical examination of the prostate. The digital rectal examination is done through the anus. The DRE is a marker of prostate cancer risk.
The digital rectal examination aims to define basic characteristics of the prostate: size, tenderness, shape, and consistency. Each of these prostate characteristics has implications for the diagnosis of enlargement, prostatitis, and prostate cancer.
In early prostate cancer detection, prostate nodules take on special meaning because they are one of the warning signs of prostate cancer. A prostate biopsy can establish the presence of cancer in a nodule on the prostate.