The P word men don't want to talk about

EACH year, around my birthday, I give myself what's probably an unusual gift: I book a prostate exam with my GP.

The doctor puts on a rubber glove and gives my prostate the once-over.

It's all over in about four seconds.

For me, those few moments of discomfort and awkwardness pay dividends throughout the rest of the year.

I feel comfort knowing that I've been checked. I feel comfort not having to feel concerned about the unknown 

And there's an element of pride knowing I've done the responsible thing for myself and my family to ensure any anomalies and possible health concerns are picked up early.

It's not that I enjoy having the test done, but I do enjoy the peace of mind that comes afterwards. The first time was the worst, but now it's an accepted part of my health regime.

My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer some years back, so I am mindful of the need for me to have regular checks.

Just as breast cancer examinations and regular pap smears are openly discussed today by women, prostate cancer testing needs to be considered as normal by all men.

There is a second option for testing for prostate cancer - a blood test that picks up the presence of high levels of Prostate Specific Antigens in the blood. I get this done too, just to further boost my peace of mind.

I urge anyone over 40 to visit your GP to discuss having an annual prostate exam and PSA blood test.

It's a quick and simple process that might just save a lot of heartache down the track.

Make it a birthday gift to yourself and your family.

I feel comfort knowing that I've been checked. I feel comfort not having to feel concerned about the unknown 



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