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Prostate cancer screening: a systematic review of digital rectal examinations in primary care settings

Canadian and UK researchers evaluate data from seven studies to review the diagnostic accuracy of digital rectal examinations
Digital rectal examination

Canadian and UK researchers evaluate data from seven studies to review the diagnostic accuracy of digital rectal examinations

The digital rectal examination is used routinely and extensively in primary care to screen for prostate cancer. However, researchers from Canada and the UK suggest that the data underpinning its effectiveness is limited.

Their study, a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available evidence, examined data from seven studies, with a total of 9,241 enrolled patient participants.

Low quality of evidence

The researchers found that the quality of evidence was low, with all the studies used in the appraisal considered to be conceivably at risk of bias as certain factors – such as the criteria used to establish abnormal findings or how patients were enrolled – were not clear.

As such, the authors questioned the usefulness of this

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