From “The Decision”
An easy way to get a rectal exam and PSA done is to look for free prostate screenings during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. My community has one every year, and it is an easy way to get checked at a convenient time and at no expense. Usually the urologists will do the rectal exams, and the hospital arranges with a lab company to do the PSA. One year I was doing the rectal exams in the hospital for one such screening and saw a friend of mine, a plastic surgeon, walking down the hall toward me. He was cutting through this area of the hospital to get somewhere else and had just happened upon me. “What are you doing, John?” “I am doing rectal exams for the hospital’s prostate screening promotion.” This physician has subsequently passed away, and I think of him often and his fun-loving spirit. “Can I have one?” “Well sure. Now?” “Yes, if it is O.K.?” At that point, hardly even breaking stride, he detoured into the room off the hall and all in one swoop flipped up his lab coat, dropped his pants, and said,” I’m ready!” I checked the prostate, and told him it was normal. He pulled up his pants, flipped down his lab coat, thanked me, and then, just as quickly as he had come, went on his way. I mention this story to make the point that when it comes to a rectal exam, you’ve got to get one when you can.