“A lot of men go straight to the fact that there’s a digital rectal exam and then they’re out,” actor and comedian Dax Shepard says.
That’s why the comedian recently made a public service announcement (PSA) for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Under the premise that men would do anything rather than get screened for prostate cancer, Shepard stars in the 90-second video named, “Dax Shepard Would Rather DO WHAT Than Get a Prostate Exam?”
The actor, who stars on Netflix’s The Ranch, played 11 parts in the PSA. In it, he tells his doctor a bunch of things he’d rather do than get checked, including sitting in the middle seat on a long flight, sorting LEGO pieces by colour, doing hot yoga next to a sanitation worker, and folding a fitted sheet.
The video ends with a big reveal: the screening is just a blood test. If the results show high levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a rectal exam may be needed.
Shepard’s stepfather passed from prostate cancer and his loss is the motivation behind the video’s creation. “From diagnosis to death was about three years,” says Shepard. He recalls his stepfather being told to get a biopsy 10 years prior and not doing it.
“Obviously, if you have an elevated PSA, then that’s a big red flag for further investigation,” says Shepard. “In general, men older than 50 should be getting a digital rectal exam. It’s not that big of a deal. I’ve had one.”
Making an impact
Shepard’s advocacy is having an impact. “I hear from tons of young guys diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he says, explaining that he regularly gets messages from fans saying they got screened or encouraged a loved one to get screened.
Shepard will be hosting Spin the Wheel, a new game show on Fox, in June while continuing his work for prostate cancer screening awareness.
“This is by no means a death sentence,” he says. “It can be treated with great success if you get it diagnosed early. The only thing that’s standing in the way of you having this and dying from it or not, is getting that blood test.”