Lab Tests Online - Explaining Pathology

Glossary

Rectal examination


This is the most frequently performed test to detect prostate cancer. The patient lies on his side and the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any growth.

The prostate is located next to the rectum and most cancers begin in the area of the gland that can be reached by rectal examination. The test may be uncomfortable, but it is not painful.