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[How to]: Take Care of Your Man Health This November

A quick guide to getting your prostate, testes, and brain checked out in Shanghai…
2022-11-24 10:00:00

Produced by SmartShanghai in Partnership with United Family Hospital

November is men's health month, y'all, so while your growing your fabulous mustaches — and doing your other normal every day manly things like water-sealing decks, making your own fishing lures, and wrestling bears — you should also get your man bits looked at by trained professionals should you be in the age bracket to do so.

There's no shame here, my guys. No embarrassment. SmartShanghai is here to give YOU the information you need on how to get prostrate and testicular exams in Shanghai, as well as introduce you to a really good mental health center if you're needing to talk to a trained professional about the stresses, anxiety, and difficulties you are facing in life.

SmartShanghai paid a visit to the spiffy, new United Family Hospital in Pudong to find out how it all works. Bro down with this information!

What is a prostate exam?

It's just as good as it sounds. A prostate exam is a screening test to look for early signs of prostate cancer or any other abnormalities in that area. Speaking with Dr. Qi Jun, Chief Urologist at United Family Hospital, there are two types of patients that come in for prostate exams: 1) people who are experiencing difficulty with urination; 2) people who peeing just fine but they're on top of life and are just having their yearly check to make sure everything is okay.

A prostate exam can't tell you for sure if you have cancer but an abnormal result means you might and you'll need to take further steps. (Prostate biopsy — not just a great name for a metal band.)

There are two parts to a prostate exam. The first part is a blood test to check for "prostate-specific antigen", or PSA levels, in the blood, which are an early sign of cancer.The second part of the exam is a digital rectal exam (DRE). Wow, another good name for a metal band.

During the digital rectal exam portion, your healthcare provider inserts CAREFULLY NOW their gloved finger into your rectum. This allows them to feel the edges and surface of your prostate gland to detect any abnormalities.

A prostate exam and a colonoscopy are different things.

Performed in a GP's office, a prostate exam involves a friendly gloved finger to the prostate for a few minutes to check for abnormalities. A more involved outpatient procedure with anesthetic, a colonoscopy involves a friendly flexible camera inserted to into your rectum to examine the walls of your colon for polyps and signs of colon cancer.Two different things. The more you know.

When should I start making these super fun procedures a permanent part of my life?

For men not already in at-risk groups you should start getting colonoscopies from age 45. For men not already in at-risk groups you should start getting prostate exams from age 50.

Additionally, Black men are at a higher risk for prostate cancer and established healthcare providers recommend starting regular yearly prostate exams at 45.

So what specifically happens during the digital rectal exam (DRE)?

You make an appointment with my man, Dr. Qi Jun, Chief Urologist. He's going to ask you if you are experiencing any prostate health-related symptoms, such as a weak urine stream, dribbling, or straining to urinate. Then he tells you the good news that he will need to insert a finger into your rectum in order to examine your prostate gland.

Then, in the GP's office, you lie on your right side with your right leg straight and your left leg bent at the knee. After putting on a surgical glove, the doctor will cover a finger in a lubricant. (Just one.) The doctor examines the prostate, moving his finger in a circular motion in order to identify the lobes and groove of the prostate gland while he is checking on the size and shape of the prostate.

It lasts a few minutes.

The whole time you are thinking this: Yes, there are better things in the world than this but also there are far, far worse things. Like cancer. And then you remember that everyone's professional, it doesn't hurt, awkwardness is a fleeting condition and death is somewhat of a more permanent thing.

When are the results in?

A day or two.

I'd like to tack on an awesome testicular exam to my awesome prostate exam. Tell me about it, please!

A testicular exam is a complete physical exam of the groin area and all your best, most popular bits, including your penis, scrotum, and testicles. Your doctor will take the whole world in his hands and check for lumps, swelling, shrinking, and other signs of a problem.

When should I being doing this then?

Testicular cancer is rare but can occur with the onset of puberty (around 15) and is most common in men under the age of 40. Therefore, it is recommended that you do regular yearly home tests on yourself, having done the research on how to do them properly, and also include them as part of your yearly checkup by your health care provider.

In the early stages of the cancer, the lump may be about the size of a pea. The chance of cure is very high when this cancer is found early and treated right away. So right then is when you get to United Family to specifically seek out this procedure to get a professional opinion.

How is a testicular exam done?

The exam may be done while you are lying down. Your doctor will check your belly, your groin, and your penis, scrotum, and testicles. The doctor will feel the scrotum and both testicles to check their size, weight, and texture. The doctor will also look for signs of swelling or lumps.

If a lump is found In a testicle, the doctor will place a strong light behind the testicle...

...turning them into disco balls!

(Sorry! Sorry! Humor is a coping mechanism!)


The doctor will place a strong light behind the testicle. This is to see whether light can pass through. Light will not pass through a tumor. Light will pass through a mass or swelling caused by a buildup of fluid. The other testicle will be felt and checked too, to make sure it does not have any lumps, masses, or other problems.

Your doctor will also check the lymph nodes in your groin and your inner thigh for swelling.

It lasts a few minutes.

The whole time you're thinking that thing again about how awkwardness is fleeting and death is really quite a bit worse. You get your results in a day or two.

United Family also have a really great Mental Health Center

For many of us men, the third most useful part of our bodies is our brains. Although not a sex-specific department of the hospital, of course — although I suppose they could help you with "crisis of masculinity" issues — the Mental Health Center at United Family Hospital is top-notch and experienced with the treatment of a range of disorders including depressions, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and more. In pre-Covid times around 70% of their clients were expats and they were seeing individuals, children and teenagers, couples, and families. According to the situation, the practice at United Family Hospital is based on scientific research and typically mental health services are goals-oriented with clients and therapists working together to achieve real therapeutic progress. They staff both psychologists and psychiatrists working with clients usually on a weekly basis in hour-long sessions after the initial assessment, depending on the situation.

We spoke with Dr. Eason Shang, M.Ed., M.S., M.B., a licensed psychotherapist and Canadian Certified Counselor about these difficult Covid times we're in:

"No one likes to be apartment for like two or three months. It's not fun. Not to mention the anxiety and depression that can come with the sense of a loss of control. Human beings just don't like uncertainties. The human brain is not built for that. We like routine. We like certainty. If uncertainty arises, anxiety is always the result. It's a natural reaction. The key is working with this anxiety and not resorting to destructive behavior in trying to cope with it ourselves — drinking a lot of alcohol, say. At our department we work with individuals and families who are struggling right now and we're working to regain control."

If you're feeling anxiety, stress, depression, or whatever else, related to these modern times or not, help is out there if you need it.

Making an Appointment

United Family Hospital would like to offer free Urology consultation limited to 20, first come first serve.

This is the free consultation link. Their team will be in touch once you register.

or Please contact Terry at service line to claim your free consultation.

For Dr. Eason, their psychotherapist, this is his direct WeChat contact. He's offering a free 30-minute consultation to the first 10 people who reach out.