Carolyn Vachani, MSN, RN, AOCN
Last Modified: June 16, 2002
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
What is a Digital Rectal Exam?
Carolyn Vachani, MSN, RN, AOCN, OncoLink's Clinical Trials Coordinator, responds:
Digital rectal exam is a technique used by physicians to assess rectal function, feel for rectal tumors or hemorrhoids, and check for blood in the stool. The physician inserts a finger into the patients' rectum and is able to feel the first few inches of the rectal tissue. By obtaining a small amount of stool, the fecal occult blood test can then be used to check for blood in the stool. In men, this test can also evaluate the prostate gland.