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Archive for the ‘Prostate media coverage’ Category

Don't be shy, doc - digitally examine me.

PROSTABLOG:  This is a joke, right – a NZ contest will be launched this week to rate men’s bum cracks as part of this year’s Blue September prostate cancer awareness campaign?

Am I being prudish, or will this seriously help persuade a man to go to his GP and ask for a prostate cancer checkup…that will involve the doctor performing a digital exam?

Digital exam – polite language for sticking a finger up your “bum crack” to feel the prostate for signs of cancer.

Isn’t convincing men the digital exam is no threat to their masculinity one of the big problems of prostate awareness?

Are we so far along the path of overcoming macho resistance (read homophobia) that we can joke about this in a serious awareness campaign?

Doubt it.

A story in today’s Sunday Star-Times newspaper announcing the bum crack contest said:

THEY CAN be seen on building sites throughout the country, are the bane of women’s lives and probably the delight of men’s – yes, the humble builder’s crack is again demanding attention.

A cheeky Auckland advertising agency has come up with a novel campaign called Rate My Crack in order to raise awareness for Blue September – the major awareness campaign of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

The online campaign asks builders, both male and female, to take photos of their workmate’s rear end as it spills out of their jeans and send it in to be judged by the online community.

The owner of the winning ‘‘bum cleavage’’ will receive $1000 to spend at a Placemakers store.

Leighton Dyer, of Rascal advertising agency, said the company was looking for a light-hearted way to raise the profile of a serious disease.

He was not concerned the campaign would offend any sensitive souls – and he expected more than 90% of the entries to be from men.

Website http://www.ratemycrack.co.nz will go live on Tuesday.

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PROSTABLOG NZ: Wellington freelance writer Ruth Nichol has published her investigation into cancer screening in the latest NZ Listener magazine.

It’s an excellent read.

Buy the mag to read it all. Here are a couple of pages:

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hopperwebberPROSTABLOG NZ: Celebrity prostate cancer is big at the moment: in the same week we heard Andrew Lloyd Webber (right) has it, there’s now an announcement Dennis Hopper (at left, star of iconic Baby Boomer movie Easy Rider) is afflicted. READ MORE> and HERE>

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THEORIZING MACULINITY (BLOG): “While breast cancer and prostate cancer are both very serious issues that can affect anyone, at any age, with any health history, I just wish they both received the same attention,” writes Amanda in South Carolina, US. READ MORE>

How many of you knew that September was Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? Personally, I had no idea.

Now that it’s Breast Cancer month we will see everything from yogurt container lids to lipsticks packaged in a lovely shade of pink to help raise awareness about breast cancer, but why doesn’t this happen in September for prostate cancer?

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DanaJenningsNEW YORK TIMES: Depression – a possible aftermath of treatment for a quarter of cancer patients – is described in graphic terms by Dana Jennings, a NYT editor who’s a year into treatment for prostate cancer.

He writes:

I’m depressed.

I’m recovering well from an aggressive case of prostate cancer, I haven’t had any treatment in months, and all of my physical signposts of health are pointing in the right direction. Still, I’m depressed. READ MORE>

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PSA RISING.COM: Is the Lockerbie bomber really dying of prostate cancer, or was his emergency dash to hospital in the back of a police car just staged for effect? A UK TV reporter who went into the ward to find out has his doubts. READ MORE>

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SUNDAY HERALD (SCOTLAND): Suspicions are growing about the prostate cancer medical evidence used to justify the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. READ MORE>

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Schwitzer health news blog: The Larry King Live programme on prostate cancer became another celebrity-filled promotion and, thus, was terribly one-sided and incomplete. READ MORE>

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USA TODAY: Cyclist Lance Armstrong has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to supporting cancer research. READ MORE>

Here’s a comment from him:

“Women said, ‘No, we aren’t going to be ashamed of this.’ They empowered a whole bunch of women. And that empowered guys to go out and talk about prostate cancer and testicular cancer and colon cancer.”

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KingPROSTABLOG NZ: While it was a good watch for those of us with a direct interest in prostate cancer, last night’s Larry King Live special programme failed to tackle some of the real issues about the disease.

We heard from a range of famous prostate cancer survivors (always the obvious approach for television) about the necessity of getting yourself tested, but nary a word from the medical bureaucracy which declines to buy in.

No government on earth has agreed to population-based testing for prostate cancer, not even for high-risk sub-groups like African Americans, or Maori.

The reasons for that would have been worth debating on a programme like King’s, whose reach via CNN is global and powerful.

Instead, we got a parade of survivors who said what all survivors (like me) will always say: “If I hadn’t had the PSA and the digital exam I wouldn’t be here today.”

That’s useful, of course, because it puts pressure on the authorities who seem to be unreasonably denying the “test them all” lobby. But it’s useful only in the sense of presenting a polemical argument – that is, one-sided.

If that was the sole objective, it would have been more effective for King to host patients for whom testing was either not done or came too late – those who are dying from prostate cancer.

He mentioned some (like the character who went off to his yacht in the Med rather than face treatment, so subsequently died), but he needed to present such heart-breaking stories via live testimony.

An alarming aspect of the show was some of the survivors didn’t know what they were talking about.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, for example, said he was still monitored – “but there’s nothing to check”.

Uh oh. The Walter Reed Hospital he so fondly plugged at every opportunity need to tell him something about biochemical recurrence. Not helpful, Colin.

The radiation oncologist on the show, Dr Christopher Rose, was impressive and impassive, but seemed  conflicted about whether he needed to explain some of the issues more thoroughly. The ephemeral nature of TV defeated him.

Joe Torre, the baseball manager, was the best talent, coming across as a modest, avuncular man who was just counting his blessings. His advocacy for changing diet was very helpful.

The boss of the US Prostate Cancer Foundation, Mike Milken, was an articulate speaker who has learned the priceless lesson of short, succinct sound-bites.

We knew why famous John McEnroe was there, and it certainly wasn’t anything to do with the ability to communicate.

I doubt he finished a sentence. It’s now apparent he spluttered and fumed on the tennis court because he couldn’t make himself understood by all those long-suffering umpires.

Larry King seemed well briefed on prostate cancer, probably because he has addressed the subject many times, as shown in clips of past interviews with various celebrity sufferers “coming out”.

The fact he hosted this hour-long show deserves credit, because if nothing else it helped raise awareness.

Just a pity the opportunity was not taken to wrangle some of the real issues, especially the unresolved question of screening.

The programme will probably be searchable on the Larry King Live website soon. SEE HERE>

Just one last point: why do we persist in using the term “digital examination”?

The non-prostate people, the civilians if you like, who endured the programme with me last night (it finished just before the rugby, luckily) kept asking: “What’s this digital thing? Is it something to do with computers?”

Quite. I guess we’ve never had something called an “analogue” examination.

Can we dispense with the euphemisms and start calling it what it is – a rectal examination.

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