TV shows and stand-up comedians as well as men over 40 joke over prostate digital exams, but when it is the partner of Prime Minister Julia Gillard who delivers a one-liner about the medical procedure, the bad joke created an uproar.
Tim Mathieson delivered the joke on Monday at The Lodge during a reception for the West Indian cricket team. He actually was encouraging the athletes to undergo the exam, but his attempt at humour was picked up by media and is on its way to becoming viral.
"We can get a blood test for it, but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way," Mr Mathieson was quoted by Brisbane Times.
Men over 40 are encouraged to undergo the digital prostate exam annually. The exam involves the insertion of a gloved finger into the anus, and this procedure is fodder for jokes.
However, the Opposition did not find Mr Mathieson's joke a laughing matter.
"Prostate cancer is an important issue. However, the comments made by the prime minister's partner Tim Mathieson lacked judgment, were in bad taste and were inappropriate," Brisbane Times quoted Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer.
As a result of the furor created by his joke, Mr Mathieson apologised. In a statement issued through the PM's office, he said, "It was meant as a joke and on reflection I accept it was in poor taste."
Meme makers, however, also find humour in prostate exams because of the anatomical part involved in the procedure
That it has been identified with midlife which begins at 40, the recommended age when to start having that annual exam
Contrary to belief, most doctors don't relish performing the DRE either
While most men don't either like it because of the pain involved
And its association with gay sex practices
These YouTube videos are also indicators of the humour that people often associate with the DRE, whose aim is early detection of prostate cancer.