What does a DRE involve?
You might have a DRE at your GP surgery or at the hospital.
The doctor or nurse will ask you to lie on your side on an examination table, with your knees brought up towards your chest. They will slide a finger gently into your back passage. They’ll wear gloves and put some gel on their finger to make it more comfortable.
You may find the DRE slightly uncomfortable or embarrassing, but the test isn’t usually painful and it doesn’t take long.
Worried about having a DRE?
It’s natural to feel worried or embarrassed about having tests, but some men find the idea of having a DRE upsetting. For example, if you’ve been sexually abused as a child or an adult, you might feel very upset about having this test. There’s no right or wrong way to feel about this, and it is your choice whether or not you have tests for prostate cancer.
It might be helpful to talk to a counsellor about your experience, thoughts and fears. Or you could contact a charity for people who’ve been sexually abused, such as the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) or SurvivorsUK. If you do decide to have a DRE, explain your situation to your doctor as they can talk through the test with you and help to reassure you.
“When I had the DRE I thought, ‘For a few seconds of discomfort, I can live with it’. Yeah it’s uncomfortable, but it could save your life."