Reviewed by William Blahd on April 19, 2016
Sheldon Marks, MD Urologist; Male Infertility Specialist, Prostate Cancer Specialist, Microsurgical Vasectomy Reversal Specialist, Tucson, AZ.
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Sheldon Marks, MD: The reason we do a prostate exam is obviously to feel for any irregularities, any nodules, any areas of firmness, anything that doesn't make sense. At the same time we're doing that we're also looking for any rectal wall abnormalities because that can be an early warning sign for cancer, and we're also looking for blood which that can be an early warning sign of a colon cancer higher up.
Sheldon Marks, MD (cont.): So what the doctor does is they take a gloved finger, puts on some lubricating jelly and just gently slip the finger in just past the anus. They feel the prostate they feel the top side, the middle, it takes just a second or two, to feel around make sure there are no irregularities, and remove.
Sheldon Marks, MD (cont.): It's definitely not fun for the doctor, but it's an essential part of the exam. On the receiving end, it's not fun either. It's uncomfortable, it lasts a few seconds, but it's a life saver. It's unfortunate when we see men who've not had exams and are diagnosed with advanced prostate or rectal cancers that would have been picked up they could have lived a normal life. So yes, it's momentarily uncomfortable, for many men it's embarrassing, but it's a life or death issue.