Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
Nearly 350 Southeast Texas men were “man enough to get checked” at free prostate cancer screening events provided by the Gift of Life and its medical partner, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, during National Men’s Health Month.
At screening sites in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange, eligible men received consultations with medical professionals, information on healthy lifestyle practices, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests from Baptist Hospital phlebotomists, blood glucose and blood pressure testing from representatives of the Gulf Coast Health Center and HIV screenings from representatives of the Baptist Cancer Center. Additional educational materials were provided by the Dauphin Screening and Prevention Center, the Gift of Life, Legacy Community Healthcare Services, UTMB and Triangle Aids Network.
The high attendance was a heartening testament to the ever-increasing need for preventative cancer screenings in the region. In addition to prostate cancer, the screenings focused on overall wellness by offering a variety of tests leading to a steady dialogue between doctors and clients, many of whom may not have had medical counseling for some time due to a lack of insurance or high deductibles.
“Talking to the doctors and nurses, reading the literature and immediately receiving my blood glucose and blood pressure test results provide a great opportunity to have a follow-up conversation with my doctor,” said Gift of Life client John Douresseau. “Then we can figure out what to do to get my levels back to where they should be, and keep them there.”
Early detection is the best protection, and statistics reflect that the five-year survival rate for men whose prostate cancer is diagnosed early is nearly 100 percent.
“Men may hear about prostate cancer all the time, but they don’t always realize the danger of inaction,” said Gift of Life client Morris Smith. “Being here today and learning from doctors and nurses really allows me to share the message of how serious this disease can be without early diagnosis.”
Empowered by these early detection statistics, local medical professionals attended the screening sites to lend their time and expertise, providing compassionate assistance and affordable healthcare opportunities.
“The first step to curing any cancer is the screening, and that’s why these events are so important,” said urologist Moses E. Wilcox, MD. “The Gift of Life is critical in that phase because it allows men and women without access to regular care a good chance to catch these diseases early, when they are most treatable.”
The June screenings are part of a year-round effort through the Gift of Life Prostate Cancer Program, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and the Baptist Cancer Center to provide free prostate cancer blood test screenings and professional medical consultations.
Since 2000, the Gift of Life has made available more than 7,000 free prostate cancer screenings and helped extend the lives of more than 60 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and whose diagnostic and cancer treatment costs were entirely underwritten by the Gift of Life.
During the last 24 months, seven men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and navigated by a Gift of Life case manager through cancer treatment, support services and other immediate resources.
The Gift of Life screens men who are at least 45 years of age (40 if African American or younger if there is a family history of prostate cancer), have limited income and are medically underinsured.
Call the Gift of Life for more information or to find out if you qualify for a screening: (409) 833-3663 or toll-free at (877) 720 GIFT (4438).