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.