A few years ago during a routine exam, I asked my doctor if the new blood test for prostate cancer would eliminate the need for him to shove his finger up my butt.
Dr. Schlain slipped on a rubber glove and said, “Mike, in the course of a routine exam, there are only two possible reasons that a responsible doctor would fail to insert his finger into the rectum of a male patient.”
“Really,” I said. “And what are those reasons?”
To which Dr. Schlain replied, “If the doctor has no finger, or the patient has no rectum.”
I laughed, submitted to a digital examination of my prostate, and went about my business. Several weeks later, I got a call from my best friend in high school. Jeff had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was surprised, because his blood work showed no indication of a problem. But a digital exam revealed something altogether different.
Long story short, they caught it just in time. Jeff is alive today, not because he got a blood test, but because he had a doctor like mine – a doctor who insisted on performing a digital exam.
It occurred to me that Dr. Schlain’s wise words should be on a banner in every examining room across the country. Until that time comes, perhaps this Public Service Announcement, featuring yours truly and my real-life doctor, will help spread the word.
Please share it. Like all cancer, prostate cancer sucks, but with early detection it can be effectively treated. As for the exam, trust me guys, it’s not a bad it sounds. Five seconds that really can save your life. Get the exams done. Both of them.
(Just don’t skimp on the lube…)