We should remember that Tim Mathieson has been a strong advocate for men’s health, especially as a Patron of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and his work to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
Men often use humour to deal with difficult or embarrassing issues like the digital rectal examination, so whilst the joke was in poor taste, no doubt Mr Mathieson intended it as a light hearted way of getting across the message that men need to be aware of their prostate health. Whilst humour is a good way to get men to open up about health issues, PCFA prefers not to use humour in relation to the digital rectal examination. We should also remember that prostate cancer is a serious public health issue and claims the lives of 3,300 Australian men every year.
Contrary to Mr Mathieson’s comments, we recommend that men over age 50, or 40 if they have a family history, talk their doctor about being tested for prostate cancer using the blood test AND the digital rectal examination as part of their annual health check-up.