Prostate cancer awareness effort takes center stage in Orange

Published 12:14 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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David Thompson had a simple but serious message when he addressed City of Orange leaders on Men’s Health Awareness Day.

“I’m living proof of what Gift of Life is all about,” the prostate cancer survivor and Gift of Life patient said. “When I suffered problems ten plus years ago, I found I had prostate cancer.”

Thompson said from day one, Gift of Life provided support from the screening, to evaluation, to help finding a doctor, to surgery and post-surgery.

The Gift of Life is still doing things well after, with Thompson adding they are willing to help in any way possible.

“So, what’s been said about Gift of Life is true, because I’ve been having prostate cancer for ten plus years and I had a brother die in April,” he said. “That was my best friend. Within the last two months he went down. We don’t know if he died from symptoms, but I saw him go down to nothing. That’s why I say that it is important that men have themselves checked and follow up and make sure. It’s simple for a test. I’m calling on all men to do the prostate screening. It’s free. It won’t cost you one red cent to come to have it checked.”

That opportunity is readily available this month.

Gift of Life health screenings are being held in Orange June 10 at the Orange Baptist Campus Hospital lobby, located at 608 Strickland Drive. Those in attendance can enjoy refreshments, lunch, giveaways and a $25 Jason’s Deli gift card for every man who gets screened.

Patients are asked to call 409-833-3663 or visit for information or to schedule a screening appointment.


Orange push

It was late last month that the City of Orange commemorated Men’s Health Awareness Day in advance of Men’s Health Month in June.

In his proclamation, Mayor Larry Spears noted the all-to-common occurrences of prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men aside from skin cancer, and in 2023, it is estimated that 17,230 men in Texas will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and approximately 2,290 will die from the disease,” he said.

“Since 2000, more than 10,990 Southeast Texas men have received Gift of Life free prostate cancer screenings, helping to extend the lives of 77 men who were diagnosed with cancer and who were provided access to diagnostic evaluations and treatment.”

Gift of Life Medical Director Dr. Gwendolyn Lavalais detailed the importance of prostate screenings while sharing how important early detection was to her family. Two members of the Lavalais family have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, one brother at age 46 and one at age 60.

Despite a diagnosis at age 46, he is doing “quite well” at age 80, Lavalais said, crediting preventive medicine and urging the community to be screened, as well.

“We are wanting to encourage every man to come out and be checked,” Lavalais said. “Have those blood tests done for cholesterol and diabetes and have blood pressure checks, because heart disease still is the No. 1 killer of all.”

Spears closed Men’s Health Awareness by sharing his experience with preventive screenings and urging all impacted community members to “pursue preventative health practices and efforts.”

— Written by Shari Hardin