Do Patients Undergo Prostate Examination while Having a Colonoscopy?
OBJECTIVES: To determine the rate at which physicians report performing a digital rectal examination and comment on the prostate gland before performing colonoscopy in men 50 to 70 years of age.METHODS: A retrospective chart review of all men 50 to 70 years of age who had a colonoscopy in Kingston, Ontario, in 2005 was completed. It was noted whether each physician described performing a digital rectal examination before the colonoscopy, and if so, whether he or she commented on the prostate.RESULTS: In 2005, 846 eligible colonoscopies were performed by 17 physicians in Kingston, Ontario. In 29.2% of cases, the physician made no comment about having performed a digital rectal examination; in 55.8% of cases, the physician commented on having completed a digital rectal examination but said nothing about the prostate; and in 15.0% of cases, the physician made a comment regarding the prostate. No physician consistently commented on the prostate for all patients, and in no circumstances was direct referral to another physician or follow-up suggested.DISCUSSION: A colonoscopy presents an ideal opportunity for physicians to use a digital rectal examination to assess for prostate cancer. Physicians performing colonoscopies in men 50 to 70 years of age should pay special attention to the prostate while performing a digital rectal examination before colonoscopy. This novel concept may help maximize resources for cancer screening and could potentially increase the detection rate of clinically palpable prostate cancer.