Crossmaglen, Ireland (Winter 2013)
Photography by avlxyz
“I’m worried,” said Joe, “I read in the paper that more than three eggs each week increases the risk of prostate cancer.”
“The lay press is uninterested in hard facts and instead prefers attention-grabbing headlines,” I explained, “a problem compounded by researchers desperately looking for headlines to beef up their grants.”
“But what about the eggs?” said Joe.
“Eggs always get a bad rap,” I said, “When I was a medical student, eggs were vilified due to their cholesterol content, despite very little of this cholesterol entering the bloodstream. The British Heart Foundation recommended eating no more than three eggs a week because of this, only dropping the recommendation in 2007.”
“I’m still worried,” he said.
“I have the perfect solution,” I said, “A report from the British Journal of Urology suggested that men who ejaculated more than five times each week reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by a third.
“Five times each week,” he mused, “But I’m not married.”
“We’re both men of the world,” I said, “. . . though it’s not exactly the Capulets and the Montagues.”
“But that will make it safe to eat eggs?”
“Yes,” I said encouragingly, “Every time you eat an egg . . .”
“If it’s for the good of my health,” he said, visibly steeling himself, “that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”
He returned a few weeks later, oily with self-satisfaction.
“That advice you gave me was great,” he purred, “I’ve been talking with my mates, and they’ve all started too.”
That’s bromance for you, I thought.
“And then we reckoned, hey, we shouldn’t keep this to ourselves, it concerns everyone—all that advertising about prostate cancer awareness and nothing about prevention.”
“Health promotion does have a rather puritanical outlook,” I admitted.
“We’re going to change attitudes,” he said passionately, “A Facebook page, a Twitter campaign, flag days, celebrity endorsements, sponsored walks to Machu Picchu, the whole hog.”
His enthusiasm was infectious.
“And you’ll have a willing audience,” I said, “To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, ninety-eight percent of men are practicing prostatic cancer prevention and the other two percent are liars.”
“I really feel I can make a difference,” he said, “This is something worth fighting for, like a divine purpose.”
The words rose unbidden. “You’re on emissions from God,” I said.
DR. LIAM FARRELL is a former GP from Crossmaglen, Ireland. He is a writer and broadcaster and has been a columnist with the British Medical Journal since 1994. His book of selected columns, The Flagon with the Dragon, is available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell.