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There are two main screening tools that are used to detect prostate cancer.

  • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) - The doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall.  The prostate is checked for hard or lumpy areas.
  • Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) - A lab checks the level of PSA in a blood sample.  The prostate makes PSA.  A high PSA level is commonly caused by Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).  Prostate cancer may also cause a high PSA level.

An abnormal test result may not mean you have prostate cancer.  If either test result is abnormal, your doctor may recommend other tests to make a diagnosis.