Does “CBS Cares” care about evidence-based screening recommendations?

We break from Pink Month for a moment to turn to prostates. CBS certainly is – with several spots in its “CBS Cares” campaign. If CBS cares so much, perhaps it could introduce some shared decision-making messages into its campaign instead of its imbalanced, heavy-handed, non-evidence-based promotion of prostate cancer screening.

A friend who admits he doesn’t watch much TV wrote me:

“I’m writing because we saw an egregious ad on TV last night by CBS Cares – pushing prostate cancer screening (and actually digital rectal exam!).   It had an actor dressed like a doctor and highlighted his gloved hand.”

Here’s the spot in question. Note the tag line, “Don’t die from embarrassment.” That kind of fear-mongering doesn’t elevate the discussion. And it doesn’t educate men very well, either. Note the absence of any discussion about questions about the evidence for any prostate cancer screening – including the digital rectal exam. (By the way, the “Hilariously Funny…” banner above this video was not my doing.  I don’t find this funny at all.  That label came with the video as I found it online.

The heavy-handed tactic turns to insults in another CBS Cares spot, this one with actor Joe Mantegna.  He says:

“If you’re a real man, ask your doctor about prostate cancer risk and testing.”

And so a man who does his own homework and knows that the US Preventive Services Task Force and many other health organizations do not support prostate cancer screening in the general population – such a man is not a real man?

One could read something into the “criminal” line under the actor’s name.

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Greg Pawelski

October 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

As Joe Scarborough cried out, “Oh Sweet Jesus!”


November 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I posted the following on the CBS Cares website complaining about the content and disrespectfull tone:

My complaint is with CBS Cares Prostate Campaign. Considering the recent USPSTF recommendation on routine prostate cancer screening and the documented negative results many men have experienced, it’s troubling that an acclaimed “objective” news organization continues to present a biased recommendation on this controversial issue to the public.

While I’m not surprised your “highly credible expert – Dr. Adam Feldman” strongly advocates for routine screening (as virtually all Urologists do), you conveniently fail to mention that they have a vested financial interest in screening men for prostate cancer.

Additionally, the continued use of humor or the portrayal of female physicians or nurses addressing male health issues is demeaning. Go to for a detailed discussion on this issue. There is certainly nothing humorous about receiving a prostate exam or being diagnosed with prostate cancer, regardless of the providers’ gender. Would it be acceptable in society today showing a young handsome male physician promoting pap smears; I think not.

I recognize not all feel the way I do but there are a number of studies that show a majority of guys are distinctly uncomfortable with opposite gender care of such an intimate nature; something women rarely have worry about any more.

In my case, I specifically selected a male Urologist. He stated a particular procedure was necessary, explained why and the associated risks; I consented. Instructed to strip from the waist down, he handed me a gown and stepped out of the exam room explaining he would be back in a few minutes. Sitting on the exam table having complied, imagine my surprise when he enters the room with a female assistant/nurse. I asked having specifically chosen a male Doctor, why do you assume it’s okay for a female to be present without asking first? You would never expect a female patient to submit to an intimate examination or procedure with a male assistant without asking first, correct? He agreed. I expect the same consideration. You either perform the procedure without assistance or find a male assistant, otherwise I’m leaving.

Given the extremely personal nature of Urological care and the potential for embarrassment, why is privacy and dignity so callously disregarded on a routine basis for male patients? I understand the male/female ratio of nurses and assistants and the difficulties associated with same gender care. However, the failure to ask is presumptuous and unethical. Instead, providers in effect ambush patients into submissive compliance. Naked (gowned or not) in need of medical care is a difficult time to make a stand. Where is the informed consent? Frankly, the more troubling aspect is Urologists of either gender, are well aware of these issues, or should be, and apparently ignore them. This double standard needs to change for men to feel comfortable in seeking health-care! I’m convinced a number of us avoid needed medical care for this exact issue.