There’s a time and a place for a finger in the freckle. Doctors’ surgeries ain’t it.
Good news, lads! We finally have definitive proof that you don’t need a finger up your bum to know you have prostate cancer.
I come from a long line of men who don’t like having things stuck up their rear ends.
You could call them narrow-minded. You could call them big old sook-lahs. I told my dad he shouldn’t knock it till he’d tried it. So he did, hated it, and ended up with prostate cancer anyway.
So, what do I know?
I know rectal exams are to men what pap smears are to women – scary, embarrassing, humiliating, triggering, uncomfortable and invasive. Hey guys, at least you don’t have to look your doctor in the eye while they’re doing it.
The result is, a lot of blokes avoid finding out the status of their little gumnut, perhaps to their detriment.
Anyway, the good news is, you can now stick rectal exams on the shelf (along with pap smears, actually), because the good folk at the Medical University of Vienna have come to the rescue.
Our Viennese mates analysed and combined data from eight different studies with a total of 85,738 participants. The results suggested that digital rectal examination alone or in combination with prostate-specific antigen testing may not be more effective in the early detection of prostate cancer compared to PSA testing alone.
In particular, DRE alone showed a lower cancer detection rate compared to the PSA test.
“The validity of rectal examination in detecting prostate cancer is not particularly impressive, suggesting that it may not be necessary to perform this examination routinely as part of screening in the absence of clinical symptoms and signs,” said Shahrokh Shariat, Head of the Department of Urology at MedUni Vienna and University Hospital Vienna and leader of the international study.
“The continuous improvement of prostate cancer screening methods remains of paramount importance to protect the health and wellbeing of men worldwide. We certainly hope that by removing this barrier, more men will go for prostate cancer screening.”
Fair chance of that, I’d say. I bet the urologists won’t be too upset either.
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