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Health Department to provide free prostate screenings

On Saturday, March 7, the Urology Health Foundation will hold a free prostate screening for men 40 years of age and older from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Pike County Health Department on 900 South Franklin Drive in Troy. No appointments are needed.

Prostate cancer will affect one in six American men during their lifetime and is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States.

Dr. Thomas Moody, president of the Urology Health Foundation, said age and race are the strongest risk factors for prostate cancer.

“African-American men are at special risk for the disease with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world,” Moody said. “One in four African American men will get prostate cancer sometime in their lives and are twice as likely to die of the disease as white men.”

A man’s risk of prostate cancer also increases if he has a close relative with the disease.

Moody said there are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is in the early stages.

“However, if a man with prostate cancer waits to act until he has symptoms, the cancer may have already grown outside the prostate and progressed to a point where it is rarely curable,” he said.

Moody stresses that regular screening offers the best way to maximize a man’s chances of discovering the cancer while it is still in its early, and most curable, stages.

Screening for prostate cancer involves a simple blood test called a PSA that measures the level of protein called prostate-specific antigen in the blood.

“Normally, PSA is found in the blood at very low levels,” Moody said. “Elevated PSA readings can be a sign of prostate cancer. A physical examination, called a digital rectal exam or DRE, is also given to detect prostate cancer. Together, these tests take about 10 minutes to perform and could save a man’s life.”

Early detection and treatment are key factors in addressing prostate cancer. That is why men, ages 40 and older, are encouraged to come to the Pike County Health Department on March 7 to be screened. For more information about this free screening, contact the Pike County Health Department at 334-566-2860.