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Digital Rectal Examination for Prostate and Rectal Tumour: Knowledge and Experience of Final Year Medical Students

A.K Eziyi
A.O Ademuyiwa
J.A.E Eziyi
A.A Salako


BACKGROUND: It is most pertinent that medical students are taught the necessary skills for digital rectal examination (DRE) before they become doctors. OBJECTIVE: The study is to assess the knowledge and experience of final year medical students regarding DRE for prostate and rectal tumours. METHODS: Well-structured questionnaire were administered to each of the final year medical students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology a week to their final examinations.
RESULTS: Response was received from 127 (60%) of the students, 124 (97.6%) agreed that they have been taught DRE. Most of the students, 102 (80.3%), have done one to five DRE, three (2.4%) and have never performed DRE while none of the students have done more than ten DRE. Only in 49 (38.6%) of cases were the findings of the students on DRE always confirmed by a doctor. Nine students (7.1%) have never felt a clinical BPH and none had felt it more than five times. Sixtysix (52.0%) have never felt a malignant prostate and none of the students have felt it up to three times. Most of the students, 106 (83.5%), have never felt a rectal tumour on DRE Only five (3.9%) felt very confident of their ability to give an opinion based on their findings on DRE while 105 (82.7%) felt reasonably confident CONCLUSIONS: The students have been taught DRE and a good number of them have performed it. Few of the DRE done by the students were cross-checked by a doctor. Most of the students have problems differentiating BPH from cancer of the prostate and many of them were not very confident of their findings on DRE. 

WAJM 2009; 28(5): 318–322.

Keywords: Digital rectal examination, medical students, prostate, rectal tumour.

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eISSN: 0189-160X