“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 43-year-old recently made a comedic public service announcement (PSA) for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Under the pretense that men would do anything except 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 eleven 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 Legos by color, 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.
“Obviously, if you have an elevated PSA, then that’s a big red flag for further investigation,” says Shepard. “In general, men older than the age 50 should be getting a digital rectal exam. It’s not that big of a deal. I’ve had one.”
Shepard’s stepfather passed this spring from prostate cancer and his loss is the motivation behind the video’s creation. He donated his time and talent to make the video
“From diagnosis to death was about three years,” says Shepard. He recalls his stepfather being told to get a biopsy 10 years ago and not doing it.
“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.”
“He was a brilliant electrical engineer, and I think his opinion was there’s two kinds of prostate cancer: a very fast moving one and there’s nothing you can do about it or a very slow moving one you don’t need treat,” he says. “The first time he was urged to get a biopsy, his kind of questioned why he would find out.”
A self-proclaimed “pessimist at heart,” Shepard is very encouraged by the progress researchers and doctors have made in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer.S
“I have very vocally called upon women, because they are best motivators for us to go get checked,” says Shepard.
He especially wants to encourage black men to get tested, since black men are dying at twice the rate of white men.
Making an impact
His advocacy is having an impact. “I hear from tons of young guys diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he says, explaining he regularly gets messages from fans saying they got screened or encouraged a loved one to get screened.
In addition to his podcast called, “Armchair Expert,” Shepard will be hosting a new game show, “Spin the Wheel” in January on Fox 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.”
Kristen Castillo, [email protected]