Bivens: 10 minutes can save a man’s life

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dr. Michael Bivins puts it simply.

If he can give an afternoon of his time and cure four men of cancer, it is time very well spent.

Bivins, a Brundidge native and a physician with Urology Centers of Alabama in Birmingham, is one of several staff physicians who donate time to providing free prostate cancer screenings to men 40 years of age and older.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Urology Centers of Alabama, the Urology Health Foundation and the Pike County Health Department will offer free prostate cancer screenings from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 at the Pike County Health Department.

Men who have not been screened are encouraged to participate.

One in every six men will get prostate cancer sometime in their lives so it’s not unusual to detect problems during the routine prostate cancer screenings, Bivins said.

And when the cancer is detected early, it most often can be cured.

“These free prostate cancer screenings are very important,” Bivins said. “It all started four or five years ago when states were rated on how they address prostate cancer. Alabama received an ‘F.’”

At that time, Alabama had no bill in the Legislature that mandated prostate cancer screening but Dr. Thomas Moody, president of the Urology Health Foundation, Rep. Alan Boothe and other Legislative members urged the Legislature to passed a bill that is helping to save lives.

“I’ve got to tip my hat to Tom Moody for all the work he has done,” Bivins said. “He designated prostate cancer ‘hot spots’ in the state and they correlated with the low economic areas around the Black Belt region of the state. Men in these areas just weren’t being screened.”

The focus of the Urology Health Foundation was to find funding for free prostate cancer screenings and to get actively involved in setting up the screenings.

“We knew if we could get men walking through the door, these screenings could have a major impact in curing people so they could go back to their normal lives,” Bivins said.

“Prior to 1990, prostate cancer screening was a rudimentary procedure. Now, the screening involves a blood test that measures the PSA, which is normally found in the blood at very low levels. Elevated PSA readings can be a sign of prostate cancer.”

A physical examination, a DRE or digital rectal exam, is also given to detect prostate cancer. These tests take about 10 minutes to perform.

Bivins said these simple screenings are saving lives.

“My grandfather had prostate cancer but, when his was found, it was in the advanced stages,” he said. “By detecting prostate cancer early, the number of deaths from the disease are decreasing. It takes so little of my time to do these screenings and it only takes 10 minutes of a man’s time and it could save his life. It’s worth every minute it takes.”