The two tests available to screen for prostate cancer are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE). Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood. A DRE involves a physician inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for any irregularities or firm areas. The DRE is recommended in conjunction with the PSA to detect abnormalities in the prostate.
A simple prostate exam can help determine whether there is a swelling of the gland or possible cancerous tissue. (From Moore, K. L., Ph.D., FRSM, FIAC, and Dalley, A.F. II, Ph.D. Clinical Oriented Anatomy. 4th Ed. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 1999.)