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Gift of Life offer men’s healthcare and prostate cancer screenings in June

(Editor’s note: A man agreed to allow this reporter to follow him through each station at the 2018 Gift of Life’s Men’s Healthcare and Prostate Cancer Screenings with the stipulation we did not reveal his name or face. We agreed because who he is was not as important as experiencing the ease and comfort given during the event.)

 

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

Each June, cities and the county proclaim the month as National Men’s Health Month.

In a proclamation given by the city of Orange, it stated:

“since 2000, the “Gift of Life” has made available nearly 10,000 free prostate cancer screenings and helped extend the lives of 77 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, with all screenings, diagnostic tests and cancer treatment costs entirely paid for by the “Gift of Life””

It is due to 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 which keeps the Gift of Life continuing to strive forward to hold the annual event.

Of those, 74 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

This year, it will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 noon on Saturday, June 22 at Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center in Port Arthur and 9 a.m. – 12 noon on Saturday, June 29 at Lamar State College-Orange in the J. Michael and Bridget Shahan Events Facility.

Each man will receive a Prostate Cancer Screening, cholesterol panel, HIV, blood pressure, Hepatitis C screening, Blood Sugar and an on-site physician consultation.

But, it is not just walk in and someone starts poking and prodding, as we found out last year. An Orange County resident agreed to allow this reporter to follow him through each step and each booth of the event, as long as I did not use his name or face. For this story, we will refer to him as Mister.

One is greeted with smiles and will guide you to where one needs to register or sign in.

The man is then given an envelope with paperwork to fill out, including a survey on what can be done to improve the experience. While lab work and needles are never fun, the organization works hard to ease the anxiety.

In 2018, the men were also asked to fill out a Harvey Impact Survey. Gift of Life understood so many were still recovering from the disaster and were trying to help connect those in need with an organization which could help.

Gift of Life does not stop with the diagnosis, the organization with approximately 500 volunteers, stays with a patient through diagnostic tests and cancer treatments.

After the paperwork, our gentleman was directed to a table where nursing students were taking blood pressures. In this instance, Mister’s was a little high and joked it was due to not really knowing what to expect.

Next, he had some blood drawn for cholesterol and to check his glucose levels. Again, his results, high on one, low on another, were explained to him before he moved to the next station.

At the next table, was a test for Hepatitis C. Mister thought it would take a few days to get the results, but TAN Medical Assistant gave him results in just 15 minutes.

While waiting for the results, Mister visited several booths in the Educational Section where he learned more about hearing tests, dental, and more.

Informational pamphlets were available providing information concerning:

  • Hepatitis C, symptoms and how it is spread
  • Dry eyes and the importance of tears
  • Cataracts
  • Food and Macular degeneration
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Behavioral and Mental Health
  • Family planning services
  • TAN Healthcare – what services it provides
  • Dietary changes which could help reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease
  • How to spot skin cancer

And so much more.

Mister was then guided to an area where he enjoyed lunch while waiting for a consultation with a physician.

While he had many results from the tests, the PSA number was not available the same day. It was mailed to Mister a couple of weeks later as well as copies of all the lab work conducted so he would present it to his primary care provider.

Mister found the experience informative and less stressful than he envisioned.

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2017 are:

  • About 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer
  • About 26,730 deaths from prostate cancer

With approximately one man in seven are likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and it is also the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men, early detection is the key.

Survival rates are higher for men with earlier stage cancers.

The Gift of Life Continuum of Care ensures that clients receive support every step of the way, from diagnosis through treatment and recovery, with all costs underwritten by the Gift of Life, according to its official website.

Some symptoms of prostate cancer are:

  • Urinary problems
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

Since most prostate cancers grow slowly, and may not cause any health problems in men who have them, prescreening is essential to detection.

A prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) is a simple blood test which can show an indication of prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer. If one has a positive result, further testing can be scheduled.

To register for a screening, please call the 24-hour hotline at 409-860-3369.