A DOCTOR has revealed why men can never refuse an NHS rectal exam.
The procedure, in which a doctor inserts a lubricated finger into the rectum, is a “vital” screening tool for prostate cancer.
the illness is diagnosed in one in eight men during their lifetime, making it the most common form of cancer in men.
March marks Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in the UK.
dr Jiri Kubes from the cancer treatment facility Center for Proton Therapyin Prague, Czech Republic, said men can “bury their heads in the sand” when it comes to their health.
He said: “Prostate cancer affects thousands of men in the UK every year and the consequences can be devastating if not caught early.
“Men often shy away from regular check-ups, whether because they prefer to stick their heads in the sand or because they believe diseases happen to other people and not to them.
“There is a certain stigma around prostate exams in particular because they involve an intimate exam and the perceived embarrassment can lead men to avoid this important exam.
“However, that shouldn’t stop you from keeping a close eye on your health, and ignoring a potential problem certainly won’t make it go away.”
Prostate cancer can be effectively fought if it is detected early enough.
“I want to urge men to take responsibility for their own health and do the right thing,” said Dr. Jiri.
What is the test and will it be offered to me?
Men may be offered testing for prostate cancer if they have risk factors, including age over 50, black ethnicity, or a family history of the disease.
They can also consult their GP themselves if they are concerned about their risk or symptoms, including increased urination, erectile dysfunction and back pain.
There is no single test that is able to identify prostate cancer as the family doctor can use a number of tests to investigate.
One is a physical exam of the prostate known as a digital rectal exam, or DRE.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Therefore, an examination of the prostate is somewhat time-consuming.
The doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate.
dr Jiri said, “The doctor will examine the size, shape and texture of the prostate to determine if there may be a tumor.”
He said while the idea of the exam was “disheartening”, it was vital and men should never feel embarrassed in front of their doctor.
“The idea of a digital rectal exam is often one of the reasons that puts men off getting tested, but it’s a vital check,” said Dr. Jiri.
“Men can sometimes be reluctant to see a doctor with a variety of issues, but the intimacy of a prostate exam can make them particularly daunting.
“Doctors, however, reassure patients that there is nothing to be uncomfortable about and they do these tests every day without embarrassment in men.
“Doctors are highly trained to deal with situations like this and they’ve seen it all before.”
Another test used is the PSA testwhich measures levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.
Elevated PSA levels may indicate you have a problem with your prostate, but it’s not foolproof.
It’s normal to have some level of PSA in your blood anyway, and it can rise due to a number of things.
About 65 percent of men with elevated PSA levels do not have cancer, while 15 percent of those with tumors get a false negative.
A combination of a PSA test, the results of a physical exam, and a patient’s risk factors will help a general practitioner decide whether to send them for more rigorous testing.
dr Jiri said, “A PSA test gives the doctor a better insight into the possible presence of prostate cancer, but finger testing means the doctor can confirm their suspicions.”
More than 47,500 men are told they have prostate cancer each year.
One man dies from the disease every 45 minutes – that’s more than 11,500 men annually.
dr Jiri said: “When prostate cancer is discovered, the doctor will explain to you the range of treatment options available and the next steps in your treatment plan.
“A diagnosis of prostate cancer is not necessarily a death sentence, and early detection often leads to successful treatment.”
The earlier a tumor is found, the better the chances of recovery for the man.
So pay attention to the signs and never avoid an investigation.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/mens-health-and-fitness/8596517/why-men-must-never-avoid-rectal-examination-prostate-cancer/ I am a doctor and therefore men must never avoid a rectal exam