Abnormal digital rectal examinations require urgent investigation for cancer, but the test has flaws, research says
Digital rectal examinations may not be an accurate diagnostic tool for cancer in primary care
People with an abnormal digital rectal examination (DRE) should be recommended for urgent referral for suspected prostate cancer, a review suggests. This finding is in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, which recommend performing DRE on patients with urinary symptoms and urgently referring if the prostate feels malignant. However, the study casts doubt on the use of DRE as a diagnostic tool in primary care due to its low sensitivity and negative predictive value.
The review included four studies from 2015, with data from a total sample population of 3,225 patients aged 40-89 years. The primary outcomes observed were the sensitivity and specificity of the examination...
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