My prostate examination
The trinidad Guardian / My name is Joel Anthony Julien, I am 37 years old and on Tuesday I received my first prostate examination.

Am I ashamed to say that? No.

Am I afraid of what others may say having learnt that? Still, no.

Truth be told, having a prostate examination done was no where in my plans for 2017.

In fact, it was nowhere in my plans up to last week.

That all changed, however, after having a meeting with the Sunday Guardian's editor Debra Wanser.

September is celebrated throughout the world as National Prostate Health Month and Debra said the plan for today's new Guardian on Sunday is to start a series about prostate cancer.

This is in keeping with our mandate to make a difference in the community through campaigns that matter.

As Head of News Shelly Dass stated in the relaunch on the newspaper on Monday "too many people in this country are losing the battle with cancer and we intend to do everything we can to raise awareness through education campaigns on this and other health issues".

With that in mind, I volunteered to have my prostate examined with the hope of raising awareness and helping to break an unnecessary taboo.

I spent Monday night Googling how to prepare for a prostate examination. It was of little help.

Then Tuesday came.

I met photographer Dion Roach at Guardian's Building in Port-of-Spain, where I was supposed to be tested inside the T&T Cancer Society's mobile bus.

When Dion and I walked into the bus there were four women inside.

One of them introduced herself as Dr Asante VanWest-Charles-Le Blanc.

As we shook hands I noticed how small hers were. "Thank God," I thought.

I had to fill out a medical form stating my age, emergency contact and whether I had any family who had been diagnosed with cancer.

It was then that I realised that recent health scares in my family had helped me make up my mind to be tested.


The moment most men fear

The first test was the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test. As a regular blood donor I wasn't fazed.

I then interviewed VanWest-Charles-Le Blanc as part of the series, who had a very calming presence.

Then the moment that most men fear about the prostate examination came.

It was time to do the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE).

"You can't spell dread without DRE," I thought to myself.

Off came my jeans; knees to my chest. Then VanWest-Charles-Le Blanc's calming voice repeated what would take place.

"Relax," she said.

She then placed lubrication on her gloved hand and inserted her finger into my rectum.

In probably 20 seconds the examination was all over.

"That's it?" I asked her when she said she was finished.

Some fear that getting tested, being placed in a fetal position and having your prostate tested are a sign of weakness. In fact, when it was all over I actually felt stronger.

Knowledge is power and I know now that my prostate health is fine so far.

Prostate cancer is a battle that can easily be won with early detection, please don't wait until it is too late because of some foolish mindset.


" If you are over 40 you need to get tested.


" If you are experiencing difficulty urinating, slow or weak urine streams and painful ejaculation you need to get tested.


" Prostate examinations can be done at the T&T Cancer Society (TTCS).


" There are two examinations that are done; the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). Both are subsidised by the TTCS - The PSA cost $180; the DRE cost $150


" Make an appointment by calling the TTCS at 800-TTCS or email them at [email protected]

My prostate examination

Con Información de The trinidad Guardian

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