Prostate cancer can be deadly, but it’s almost always treatable when detected early. Fortunately, Medicare Part B covers 80% of one approved digital rectal exam (DRE) per year for men over the age of 50. Many men are nervous about this health service, especially if they’ve never scheduled the procedure before. The overview below explains what to expect to relieve some of the anxiety you might feel.
Why Doctors Request Digital Rectal Exams
A DRE gives health service providers the chance to manually check your prostate for lumps or any other abnormalities that may require further testing. In many cases, a DRE can detect early stages of prostate cancer long before you start developing symptoms.
A DRE may also be ordered if you’ve experienced a sudden change of bowel movements or blood in your stool. In some cases, the exam can reveal hemorrhoids or fissures that may need treatment.
What Happens During a DRE
During the exam, the doctor will ask you to strip and cover you with a paper or cloth sheet. You might be examined while standing and bent at the waist, or lying on your side with your knees bent to your chest. These positions give the doctor the access they need while minimizing discomfort.
During the exam, which only takes a few minutes, the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum and carefully checks the prostate for lumps or hardening. They will also check the walls of the lower colon for polyps and other abnormalities.
There’s no recovery period after a rectal exam, so you can resume your normal activities the same day. However, if you have anal fissures or hemorrhoids, you might experience some mild bleeding. If the doctor found no abnormalities, you won’t need further testing. If they did notice any irregularities, they will be in touch within a few days to explain the results and order additional tests.
If you have a doctor’s appointment coming up, trust the drivers at Agape Transportation to get you there safely and on time. Serving Medicare recipients around New York City and Westchester County, they offer comfortable rides to hospitals and clinics to ensure you get the health services you need. For your convenience, they provide 24/7 customer service. Visit their website to learn more about their work, follow their Facebook for more helpful tips, or call (718) 585-2222 to book a ride.