Free prostate cancer screenings set for May 4

Published 11:52 am Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

“In Alabama, the death rate from prostate cancer among African American men is the highest in the country, and the reason that is because of the lack early detection,” said Dr. Thomas E. Moody, president of Urology Health Foundation.

Moody made the statement regarding the importance of a free prostate cancer screening set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Lowndes County Health Department in Hayneville.

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The screening is a joint effort between the Lowndes County Health Department, Urology Health Foundation and Urology Centers of Alabama.

While Moody said younger men will be checked, he said the target group is ages 40 and up.

“Early dedication is the key to survival of prostate cancer,” Moody said. “And the only way to do that is to be checked.”

He said early prostate cancer has virtually no symptoms.

“It’s a blood test and a brief rectal exam,” Moody explained of the screening process. “But if you compare that with what women have to do every year when they get the Pap smears and mammograms, this is nothing.”

Moody said if a problem is found during the screening that needs attention, “We will take care of that person regardless of their ability to pay.”

He said 700-800 men in Alabama died of prostate cancer last year.

While Moody confirmed not all prostate cancer needs to be treated, he said it depends on how aggressive the cancer is and the age of the person.

However, Moody said, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the U.S.

The goal is to offer Lowndes County men the opportunity for early detection, Moody said, and the decision to treat should be up to the doctor and the patient and not the government.

“We want men to take responsibly for their health, and to be proactive in getting checked and become informed and making informed decisions,” he said.

According to information provided by Urology Centers of Alabama, prostate cancer occurs in one out of every six men on the average, and one out of every four black men. Prostate cancer is very treatable when detected early.

Prostate health is particularly important for black men because they are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and their death rate from this disease is two and one-half times greater than the rate for white men.