Jeffery Archer has said today that it is imperative that all men over 50 should get their prostates examined. I on the other hand think we should go one better, and all men should get checked from the age of 18.
This isn’t some perverse fetish I have, but it is important that we de stigmatize the procedure. Stephen Fry has come out and said that he has cancer after going for a routine flu jab, and hopefully the cancer was caught early and is treatable.
The thing with prostate cancer is that it progresses at a snail’s pace, and as such, people are widely unaware that there is anything wrong until it’s too late, and men being men, we just put symptoms down to getting older. Unless we have a limb hanging off, we’ll generally ignore things.
I’ve said this a few times, and I stick by it. A prostate exam is the male equivalent to a woman’s smear test. Not the most comfortable or flattering of positions to be in, but early detection of cancer is the key to an increased chance of survival. The same goes for breast and testicular cancer.
The prostate exam, similar to the smear, is by and large a quick, simple exam, and before you know it, it’s over with. Your care team, and their students if you happen to agree to let a load of what seems like 12 year olds in white coats observe will treat you with dignity and discretion.
Actually, regardless of what you’re having done, from blood tests to STI checks, you should try to get juniors to observe, for these are going to be the people who are treating the next generation.
A gynaecologist went viral on Facebook a few years ago for spelling out the smear test in no uncertain terms. She doesn’t care what your hoo-haw looks like, whether its waxed, shaved, pierced, had a little nip and tuck, what she cares about is ensuring that everything is OK and that there aren’t any dodgy cells.
The same goes with any doctor. They are there to keep you well. Do you seriously think they spent 10+ years training just to treat coughs, colds and the occasional broken limb? They trained because they have a passion for other people’s health, and they want to ensure that you are healthy and well.
So come on gents, it’s not THAT bad, and only takes a few minutes out of your day. In fact, you could have one done while seeing your doctor about an unrelated issue. We can all multitask.
Your doctor will also appreciate that you are taking a keen and wise step in the care that you receive because cancer, regardless of who it is that diagnoses you does take its toll on people. One of the most dreaded things a doctor can say to their patient is ‘I’m sorry it’s cancer’. It does take its toll on them, because they are the ones that have to watch someone’s entire world unravel before their eyes.