- Stephen Hughes
Prostate cancer screening involves inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into a man’s rectum to feel for anything abnormal in a man’s prostate.
Recently, an international panel of experts recommended that digital rectal examinations be replaced by MRIs for “active surveillance” of prostate cancer.
This news may be celebrated with the advent of new technologies that have revolutionized invasive medical testing, but the digital rectal exam (DRE) and What are the implications of changing it?
A DRE is performed by a doctor who examines the patient’s rectal wall by inserting it into the anus.
This allows doctors to access the prostate gland, helping them Find out the symptoms of cancer.
Before the introduction of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – a blood test – DRE was the only way to diagnose prostate cancer in men.
It is also used in other pathologies
DRE can also be used to detect other types of cancer, such as rectal cancer and rectal cancer.
It can be used to check if Compressed stools in people with constipation and, in other circumstances.
It is also used in women to detect cancer Ovarian cancer spread.
If done correctly, it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
and privacy and Good communication helps More to overcome the embarrassment.
All medical students are taught to do this and have been told for generations when examining patients: “If you don’t screw up, you screw up.”
A prostate gland the size of a walnut Located in the lumbar region and surrounds the urethra as it leaves the bladder.
very convenient, Near the rectum And it is easily felt by the examiner’s finger.
If it becomes inflamed, as in cases of prostatitis, it is tender.
and in benign enlargement of the prostate, which occurs and occurs in middle age Urine flow is slowProstate gland feels enlarged.
In cases of prostate cancer, the surface may be irregular and firm to the touch.
However, it is very common for prostate cancer to be missed in the early stages of the disease.
Technology is an ally
In the UK medical school system, great emphasis is placed on learning good clinical skills.
Over-reliance on technology is seen as possible A waste of scarce resourcesAnd patients like to think of their doctors as expert diagnosticians.
But there are times The technology is very accurate in detecting diseasesEspecially in its early stages.
The Magnetic resonance Provides detailed images of body structures.
Unlike X-ray and Computed Tomography, It does not depend on ionizing radiation (which is associated with a higher risk of cancer) and is believed to be safe.
It is good for early detection of prostate cancer and for “surveillance” (monitoring of the disease).
But MRI Expensive and bulky machines, They use a lot of energy and are usually only found in hospitals. This restricts its use.
There is a blood test, the previously mentioned PSA, that is used as a marker for prostate diseases, but it is not specific for cancer.
when Used in conjunction withDRE, Helps identify cases.
But antibody levels in the PSA test after DRE increase, worsening the test’s timing.
This means that blood must be drawn at a separate visit.
so, What is the stake? DRE Diagnosing prostate cancer?
I think it still has a place in medicine.
Prostate cancer Easily spreads to bonesAnd it’s not uncommon for it to manifest as back pain when it spreads to the vertebrae.
If this is suspected, positive results of rectal examination will lead to timely diagnosis Less delay in receiving Correct treatment.
DRE works best for rectal cancer.
Up to 76% can be detected if the tumor is within finger reach.
For constipation, detection of infected stool in the rectum can save the expense and radiation exposure of modern examinations, which have favorably eliminated abdominal X-rays. Radiation intensity computed tomography.
will go down in history Rectal exam?
It is a An inexpensive test that provides useful information When properly used and interpreted.
Stephen Hughes is a senior lecturer in medicine at Anglia Ruskin University.
*This article was originally published on The Conversation and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons license. Click here to view The original version.
Now you can get notifications from BBC Mundo. Download the latest version of our apps and activate them so you never miss our best content.