Virtual “Friend” Can Help Men Understand Prostate Cancer Screening, Risks

If you have questions about prostate health, screening or options for prostate cancer treatment, just ask Nathan.

Created through a collaboration between the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health simulation company Kognito, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), Nathan is an interactive human simulation that walks people through a conversation about prostate cancer screening options. He also offers a guided conversation that answers questions about treatment options.

Men’s Health Network provided consulting services to the CDC in development of the program.

“Using simulations can help patients think about and take action on important medical issues,” says Dr. Sal Giorgianni, MHN’s senior science advisor. “This is particularly true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when health resources are stretched and in-office visits are potentially problematic.”

Nathan is easy to use. Visitors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s prostate cancer page will find Nathan right on the front page. Click on the button to start the conversation with your new virtual friend. Each question’s answer is offered with a prompt to choose the next question.

Nathan can answer lots of questions about prostate cancer and health. Among the common questions:

  • What do I need to know about prostate cancer?
  • Do I need to get screened for prostate cancer?
  • How do I talk to my doctor about my diagnosis?

For health care providers, a similar simulation offers a road map of how to talk to a patient about screening, and about treatment.

During September, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, men should consider screening for themselves, as well as discussing it with their friends and family who may also be at risk. Women may also want to provide a nudge to the men in their lives. Prostate cancer screening saves lives and takes only minutes. As we like to say here at Men’s Health Network, Get It Checked!

Robin Mather

View posts by Robin Mather
Robin Mather is a third-generation journalist with more than 40 years' experience working at major daily newspapers and national magazines. A Michigan native, she now lives in Arizona

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