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Latest study challenges role of rectal exam in prostate cancer screening

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Latest study challenges role of rectal exam in prostate cancer screening

A study by the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital has taken a more in-depth have a look at the effectiveness of common examination methods for the early detection of prostate cancer. It was found that rectal examination has no benefits over the PSA blood test for detecting prostate cancer. The outcomes of the study by Shahrokh F. Shariat from the Department of Urology at MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna were recently published within the renowned journal European Urology Oncology.

Prostate cancer is some of the common cancers in men worldwide. Conventional screening methods include digital (finger) rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. Nevertheless, many men don’t undergo rectal screening and former research has suggested that DRE as a stand-alone screening method or together with PSA could also be less effective than thought.

Meta-analysis takes a more in-depth have a look at specific studies

This latest study analyzed and combined data from eight different studies with a complete of 85,738 participants. The outcomes suggest that DRE alone or together with PSA is probably not simpler within the early detection of prostate cancer in comparison with PSA testing alone. Particularly, DRE alone showed a lower cancer detection rate (CDR) in comparison with the PSA test.

These findings may indicate that digital rectal examination is probably not as effective as hoped for within the routine screening of prostate cancer, especially within the absence of specific symptoms or signs.

The validity of rectal examination in detecting prostate cancer isn’t particularly impressive, suggesting that it is probably not obligatory to perform this examination routinely as a part of screening within the absence of clinical symptoms and signs.”

Shahrokh Shariat, Head of the Department of Urology at MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna and leader of the international study

This opens up a discussion concerning the effectiveness and advantages of digital rectal examination within the early detection of prostate cancer. Shahrokh Shariat emphasizes the importance of further research to discover the most effective methods for the early detection of prostate cancer: “The continual improvement of prostate cancer screening methods stays of paramount importance to guard the health and well-being of men worldwide. We actually hope that by removing this barrier, more men will go for prostate cancer screening.”

Source:

Journal reference:

Matsukawa, A., et al. (2024). Comparing the Performance of Digital Rectal Examination and Prostate-specific Antigen as a Screening Test for Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. European Urology Oncology. doi.org/10.1016/j.euo.2023.12.005.

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