PROSTATE CANCER: A WORD ON THE DIGITAL RECTAL EXAM

This is the part of the physical men would rather do without. It’s uncomfortable, but it doesn’t hurt, is generally brief, and it can provide essential information that simply can’t be gotten any other way. You may be asked to stand next to the examining table and bend forward slightly, or your doctor may prefer that you kneel on the table or lie on your side. Note: If what you’re feeling goes beyond the obvious discomfort of having someone’s finger in your rectum and is clearly pain, this could be an important signal of another problem, such as prostatitis. If the exam is painful, tell your doctor.

Many men dread having this test for another reason—their doctor’s bedside manner, or lack thereof. Some men even put off going to the doctor because they don’t want to deal with someone who is rude, gruff, disrespectful, uncommunicative, or generally unpleasant, and this is a terrible shame. Good doctors know how to make their patients feel at ease. They talk to their patients, and treat them with respect. If your doctor’s unfortunate bedside manner is keeping you away from this or any other exam, find another doctor. There are plenty of good ones out there. It’s your money—and more importantly, it’s your health!

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