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It’s No Joke, Guys

by Lori Sciame June 10th, 2015 | Men's Health
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manAs long as I can remember, comics have made fun of prostrate and colon/rectal exams. I envision the countless comedy skits involving a smiling doctor carefully putting on a “rubber” glove while saying, “bend over” or “cough loudly.”  To add to the comedic moment, the male patient has a horrified look on his face as he stands there whimpering and helpless.

Why would these life saving screenings be made into a laughing matter? Maybe it’s because men feel that some parts of the body should remain off limits, or maybe it’s because men feel too vulnerable taking these matters seriously.  Whatever the reason, men need to shift their thought process when it comes to cancer screenings. Basically, finding cancer in either the prostrate or the rectum/colon is no joke.

Sobering Statistics

Maybe these two cancer screenings won’t be as funny once  a man realizes the chances of developing either prostrate or colon cancer. Estimated statistics from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) assert that there will be approximately 239,000 new cases of prostate cancer in 2013, with close to 30,000 deaths. As far as colon cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and in women.”

Relatively Painless Screenings

Contrary to popular belief, screenings for prostrate cancer and rectal/colon cancer do not involve excruciating pain.  While they might not be categorized as an enjoyable experience, one can live through them relatively pain free.  A man will also keep his dignity knowing that he is doing something that can possibly save his own life.

As outlined by NCI, there are two basic screenings for prostate cancer.  These are the digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test that looks for the levels of PSA in a man’s blood. For more information on how these screening procedures work, click on this link.

NCI also lists five separate screenings for colorectal cancer.  They include looking for blood in fecal matter and looking at the colon internally.  Of course the collection of a stool sample is not fun, and preparing for a colonoscopy doesn’t equate with having fun either, but as in prostate cancer screenings, these tests need to be completed to possibly save a life.  For more information on the five types of screenings, check out this website.

Catching Cancer Early is Key

Cancer can occur anywhere in a man’s body, so checking for the disease through relatively simple tests is a must.  No matter if a man feels as if his prostate and rectum/colon should be kept private, he needs to understand that doctors need to examine these areas for signs of disease.  Think about it this way.  Wouldn’t it be much easier to have one or more of these tests now, than to find out years down the road that cancer has spread from one of these locations throughout the entire body?  That’s NO laughing matter, right?

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.