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Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men (25% of men with prostate cancer will die of the disease). The most common method of detecting this malignancy is digital rectal examination (DRE). Current DRE training requires medical students to examine a large number of patients before attaining adequate experience. We propose to solve this problem using a virtual reality digital rectal examination simulation. The prototype system consists of a PHANToM haptic interface which provides feedback to the trainee's index finger, a motion restricting board and an SGI workstation, which renders the patient's anatomy in the region of interest. Four types of prostate were modeled using OpenGL and GHOST haptic library-normal, enlarged with no tumor, incipient malignancy (single tumor), and advanced malignancy (tumor cluster). Results of initial human factors studies are encouraging, while pointing out the need for more realistic physical modeling.
Date of Conference: 18-18 1998