Free prostate cancer screenings SaturdayPublished 11:00pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013
When Michael Bivins was a student at Pike County High School in Brundidge, he had never heard of prostate cancer.
Even as a student at the University of Alabama Medical School, he didn’t think much about it. But, then those words, prostate cancer, became paramount in his life.
“When my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it had already spread to the bones,” said Dr. Michael Bivins, Urology Centers of Alabama in Birmingham. “My grandfather died and I thought it was sort of a failure on my part. But the reality of it was that prostate cancer wasn’t talked about back then. We were not well informed. If my grandfather had been screened earlier, it could have saved his life.”
The death of his grandfather had a big impact on Bivins’ life and he is committed to helping save lives, “one screen at a time.”
Although, prostate cancer screenings can save lives, prostate cancer continues to be the most prevalent cancer in men after skin cancer and is the second leading cause of death. The death rate from prostate cancer in Alabama is the third highest in the nation. Alabama is now number one in the United States for prostate cancer death among African Americans.
“Even when you accumulate this, prostate cancer screenings saves a lot of lives,” Bivins said.
For that reason, Urology Centers of Alabama offers the opportunity for free prostate cancer screenings in rural Alabama and to underserved populations.
“In Alabama we typically see a prevalence of prostate cancer in the Black Belt areas and in at-risk, small rural areas,” Bivins said. “We want to reach out to those areas with free screenings because early diagnosis is the key. If we can catch the cancer at the early stage, lives can be saved.”
Since Urology Centers of Alabama’s first time to screen in Pike County in 2012, 286 men have been screened with 13 percent found to have an abnormality.
Bivins said participation has been very good in Pike County and he expects a large number of men to participate in the free prostate screening from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at the Pike County Health Department.
“Pike County rates high in the number of participants in the free screenings offered by Urology Centers of Alabama,” Bivins said. “The more we educate the public about the importance of prostate cancer screenings, the greater the number of screenings that will be done and the greater the number of lives that will be saved.”
Bivins will be at the Pike County Health Department Saturday for the free prostate cancer screenings conducted by the Urology Centers of Alabama in Birmingham.
The screening is a simple procedure and takes about 10 minutes, which could be live-saving minutes. All men ages 40 and over should have annual prostate screenings. Bivins said.
All that is needed to conduct the screening is a name and reliable address to send the results.
If an abnormality is found, Urology Centers of Alabama in Birmingham will follow-up with a phone call and strongly recommend seeing a physician of choice, if that has not already been done.
In cases where there is no insurance, and regardless of ability to pay, Urology Centers of Alabama will make arrangements for those with abnormalities.