Friday, March 16, 2012

Live-saving procedure or humiliating rectal probe?

When you think of a rectal exam, you probably have this in mind:

Or maybe for some of you, this....
A thorough rectal and prostate exam requires about 10 to 15 seconds, and with a little longer to wipe off the lube and zip up, you can have it over and done within about a minute.  The payoff, however, can be huge: prostate cancer has an almost 100% survival rate as long as it is caught early.  

If it is this safe, quick and helpful, why don't all men have regular rectal exams?  Do you honestly believe women think the same thing about mammograms and Pap smears?  Do you think women avoid them because of embarrassment or a little discomfort?  Moms sit down with their daughters and gently pass on generations of wisdom, including the importance of life-saving medical tests.  Dads who talk about men's health issues either awkwardly give their sons a few Trojans and make vague references to farmers and raincoats, or threaten their sons with eternal damnation for the sin of sex out of holy wedlock.  A dad just doesn't not talk about his anus with his boys, let alone anyone else.  Don't count on your friends either: when is the last time a group of salt-of-the-earth men stood around the bar chit-chatting about anal health over a few pitchers of suds.  You are basically on your own, left to ignore a few poorly-made public-service announcements over 40 or 50 years until suddenly, you can't urinate.

We can try to change public opinion by spending millions of taxpayer dollars, or we can make them mandatory through simple federal legislation that can actually make the government money through a variety of stiff fines for men who keep their heads where a latex-covered finger should be.  The choice is yours, citizens.  Demand that your government representatives support the REPRIMAND law, and help save a million men.

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