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Digital rectal exam remains important part of prostate screening
Date:3/18/2013

ormal digital rectal exam (with or without an elevated PSA). The biopsy diagnosed 306 of the men as having prostate cancer. Of that number, 136 of the men had an abnormal digital rectal exam finding.

Most importantly, 43 of the 136 men who had an abnormal digital rectal exam showed a normal PSA level for their age. While 14 percent of all patients with prostate cancer had an abnormal digital rectal exam, 31 percent of these men had normal PSA levels for their age.

"It is important to acknowledge that age-specific PSA cutoffs contribute some limitations in prostate cancer screening," Raman said. "In particular, while age-specific thresholds increase the sensitivity in younger men, these same cutoff values lower the sensitivity in older men."

Because the acceptable PSA level is increased for older men, it is possible that prostate cancer is being missed if only the PSA test is used.

"Our study confirms that the digital rectal exam remains an important part of screening such patients because 31 percent of cancers in our study would have been missed by using age-specific PSA cutoffs alone," Raman said.

Researchers published their findings in The Canadian Journal of Urology.


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Contact: Matthew Solovey
msolovey@hmc.psu.edu
717-531-8606
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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