A Father’s Day message for good health; cancer screening help available locally

Published 12:20 am Saturday, June 17, 2023

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June is Men’s Health Month, a national observance that raises awareness about health care for men.

It is also the month during which we celebrate Father’s Day, making June the perfect time to remind men about the importance of regular checkups and cancer screenings.

As urologists, we have seen firsthand the impact that prostate cancer can have on men and their families. It is a disease that may be asymptomatic in its early stages, which creates an even more urgent need for early detection and treatment.

Prostate cancer is the second-most diagnosed cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death among American men. Approximately 40 percent of the cases are detected before the age of 65.

The American Cancer Society reports more than 17,000 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Texas this year with an estimated 2,290 Texans who will die from the disease.

However, prostate cancer often can be effectively managed, and if diagnosed at a localized stage, has a nearly 100 percent five-year survival rate.

Regular screenings, such as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, are important, and men over the age of 50 should discuss with their physician the appropriate screening schedule based on individual risk factors.

It also is important to note that African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer may be at higher risk and should consider earlier and more frequent screenings.

This critical message of early detection was deafened by Covid-19 and made it even more challenging for an already reluctant population of men to maintain healthcare.

Medical studies report that countless individuals have bypassed regular appointments, and therefore we believe it is important to raise awareness and encourage screenings for men under the age of 70.

Our community is fortunate to have the Gift of Life organization, which provides free men’s health screenings, including PSAs and primary care tests, for medically underserved Southeast Texas men who cannot afford insurance or high deductibles.

According to Gift of Life Executive Director Norma Sampson, “the program is conducting regional screenings in Jefferson, Orange and Hardin Counties. Appointments are available in Beaumont on Saturday, June 24 at the Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute and in Kountze on Saturday, July 15 at the Hardin County Health Department. Eligible men should contact Gift of Life at 409.833.3663 or online at giftoflifebmt.org to schedule an appointment.”

Happy Father’s Day, and please remember to take care of your health by having an annual check-up, eating healthy, exercising, ceasing to smoke and reducing alcohol consumption.

— Submitted by Southeast Texas Urology Associates: J. Denton Harris IV, M.D.; John A. Henderson IV, M.D.; Steven A. Socher, M.D.; and Jenny N. Nguyen, M.D.