When men approach the age of 40, dread sets in about the changes coming in our annual physical exam. Those are appointments many of us avoid anyway, and the idea of a digital rectal exam being performed is not a pleasant one.
Fortunately, the real pain of the exam is probably only felt by your ego. There is no pain involved, although some men might have a little discomfort during the exam. And the DRE is accepted in most medical circles as the least invasive, most effective way to detect problems with your prostate early.
For many men, these exams really don’t need to begin until you hit 50. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. African-American men are 60 percent more likely to get prostate cancer than their Caucasian counterparts, so the recommendation for them is to start screenings at age 40. And men who have a family history of prostate cancer need to start their exams early too.
To help men get over their fears of a DRE, Dr. Oz performed on Oprah’s All Stars show. I’m pretty confident your doctor won’t be joking as much as Dr. Oz does in the video. I’m also confident your exam will be this easy.
And just remember, the women in your life go through mammograms on a regular basis, which are much more intrusive and uncomfortable. So don’t be surprised if they don’t give you much sympathy for not going to get tested for prostate cancer.