in that place where no fingers should go and where only things should come out???" says the older man to his doctor. No need for any more rectal exams??? How lucky can you get? Well, wait a minute , let's examine the issue of the digital-rectal exam, why it's done, and who may no longer need it.
A digital rectal exam on a man (since women have it for different reasons) can help a doctor to determine if the prostate is enlarged. Why is that important? Because it is a key tool in detecting prostate enlargement (and possible cancer) or even painful inflammation which could signify cancer less likely and prostatitis or an inflammed prostate more likely. It's non - invasive (I know, I use that term lightly) in the sense that you are not cut open nor is an invasive test like a biopsy being done - but it can yield a wealth of "starting information."
That being said - recent determinations in the cut off age of screening PSA levels as 75 years of age, may also mean less necessity for rectal exams. But wait - the rectal exam actually involves a couple of observations - the doctor sees if you have hemorrhoids, if your neurological response to touch there is intact and he also sees if the prostate is enlarged. So I don't know if age will be "a by" on this exam - even if the diagnostic/treatments for seniors has changed when it comes to prostate cancers - but if it does, it will probably make men a bit more happy to see their doctors - don't you think??