Some tests used to detect prostate cancer include the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam, according to the National Institute of Cancer. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood. Patients with a level higher than 10 nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood have a higher than 1 in 2 chance of developing prostate cancer.
The digital rectal exam involves a medical professional inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to check the prostate directly for physical abnormalities, such as bumps or hardness. This test is less effective than the PSA test at detecting prostate cancer, according to the National Institute of Cancer. However, it has been known to detect prostate cancer in men with PSA levels considered to be normal.