Conway Regional Medical Center will partner with Conway physicians Monday Sept. 17 to offer free prostate cancer education and screenings to local men.
This is the 11th year the screenings have been offered as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
The screening will include a 15-minute prostate education presentation. Coordinator Lori Reynolds, registered nurse and oncology educator at Conway Regional, said the short education session explains what the prostate is, how it is impacted by family history, and gives an overview on prostate health.
Wives or significant others are encouraged to attend the educational portion of the event.
Reynolds said there is always a need to increase awareness in areas of men’s health.
“We’ve made good strides in breast cancer and we’ve done a lot with women’s health, but I don’t think all men understand the importance of getting this screening,” Reynolds said. “You need to start at age 40.”
Reynolds said screenings should start earlier if there is a history of prostate cancer in a man’s family.
Along with the educational presentation, participants will receive a prostate-specific antigen blood test and a digital rectal exam.
Reynolds said the digital exam paired with the blood test will provide physicians with enough information to determine if a man should follow up with his primary care doctor or seek additional care.
The offered screenings do not replace a one-on-one visit with a man’s family doctor, said Dr. Jeff Marotte, one of four participating physicians from Conway Urology Clinic.
“We want to make sure they understand the weaknesses and the advantages of the PSA exams prior to having them,” he said.
Appointments should be made by calling 501-513-5858. Reynolds said callers should leave a message containing the man’s name and phone number.
Participants need to be pre-screened before the appointment is made, and a coordinator will ask a few questions, Reynolds said.
The screening targets men 40 to 70 years who have not had a screening in the past year.
“It’s the guys who are in their 50s and 60s that we really need to focus on,” Marotte said.
Marotte said African Americans are at a greater risk for prostate cancer nationally, “and that is compounded in Arkansas because of lack of access to services and other factors.”
According to Conway Regional, prostate cancer is the “No. 2 cancer killer of men” nationally, and kills about 30,000 men annually.
Statistics are from the Prostate Conditions Education Council.
Prostate cancer is almost 100 percent survivable when detected early, but Marotte said more men die from prostate cancer than women die from breast cancer.
Marotte credits public awareness generated by organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation and others for a decline in breast cancer related deaths.
“Unfortunately the awareness efforts are just not out there for prostate cancer,” said Marotte.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)