After examining a patient one day (PSA and rectal exam) he asked if that was all I was planning to do to him to check for prostate cancer. I said that what I had done was enough for now, the prostate felt fine and the PSA would be back in a couple of days.
He said he had read about a digital exam and he wanted that also…he had read about it on the internet. His tone was that of someone who thought he knew something I didn’t and that I was remiss in offering the “newest technology.”
I said that I did not understand. “We do ultrasound evaluations of the prostate but I am not familiar with anything that is digital.”
“Well, I read it on the internet and I want it. It said it must be done with the PSA.”
Then it dawned on me…a digital exam was the old-fashioned rectal exam, finger wave, or exam with your digit…a digital exam.
When I say the internet lacks context, texture and depth, this is what I mean. It is good, don’t get me wrong, but run it all through the prism of your caregiver and certainly don’t make a decision solely on what you have read. Examples being the rush to Proton therapy or Robotic prostatectomy because of the marketing hype and footprint on the internet.