Prostate survivor says early detection is best protection; screening event set for Orange

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, June 5, 2024

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June is National Men’s Health Month, an annual awareness opportunity to remind men of wellness issues and what they can do to take charge of their health.

As a physician, this month also prompts me to reflect on a journey that has profoundly impacted my professional and personal life — my battle with prostate cancer.

Despite years of medical training and extensive experience caring for my patients, nothing prepared me for the emotional impact of receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis. You never imagine that you will be the one hearing those words.

The road ahead was daunting, but I was fortunate to have a supportive network of friends, family, and colleagues. Additionally, knowing that early detection and timely intervention offered a better prognosis gave me some solace. During my toughest days, I drew inspiration from the countless men I have seen who have fought similar battles and emerged triumphantly.

This year, it is my privilege to serve as Gift of Life Men’s Health & Prostate Cancer Prevention Honorary Chair. In June and July, the regional non-profit organization will provide free primary care screenings, including PSA blood tests with on-site physician consultations at four convenient locations.

Southeast Texas men’s health and wellness are significantly bolstered by Gift of Life’s initiatives, delivered in collaboration with its regional medical partners. In addition to benefiting from a comprehensive health assessment, participants will receive a $25 Jason’s Deli gift card, lunch, giveaways, and, most importantly, an informed understanding of their health status.

Access to follow-up navigation is also available when needed. I strongly encourage eligible men to take full advantage of the program’s essential medical services.

Men like José Hernandez, a Gift of Life prostate cancer client and ardent supporter of the organization, have accessed the program’s care. A father of a young son, Jose’ works hard every day to care for his family despite navigating the challenges of a late-stage diagnosis.

Jose’ epitomizes strength and bravery and attributes Gift of Life to saving his life through its provision of free medical care.

Too often, men are reluctant to discuss their health and postpone regular check-ups and preventative tests that provide crucial insights into their overall well-being. Even physicians, like myself, can be guilty of this! However, these important discussions and medical evaluations are vital, especially when it comes to prostate health.

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. About one in every eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. This disease is highly treatable and when diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate for localized prostate cancer is approximately 99 percent.

Yet, it remains the second-leading cause of cancer death among American men. Simple screenings, like the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, can be an effective diagnostic tool.

I should know. I am living proof that early detection saves lives!

As a physician and a survivor, I urge Southeast Texas men to proactively safeguard their well-being by making healthy lifestyle choices and scheduling regular appointments with their healthcare providers. Help is also available for local men who lack insurance or the funds to pay their high deductibles.

Let’s continue to work together to ensure more men can celebrate a healthier future.

Santos Soberon, MD, Beaumont Internal Medicine and Geriatric Associates

Gift of Life Men’s Health & Prostate Cancer Screening Sites

9 a.m. Appointments

Walk-Ins Welcome

• Beaumont – Saturday, June 8

Baptist Cancer Network: Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute (3555 Stagg Dr.)

• Port Arthur – Saturday, June 22

Port Arthur Health Department

(5860 9th Avenue)

• Orange – Saturday, July 13

Orange Baptist Campus Hospital Lobby (608 Strickland Dr.)

• Kountze – Saturday, July 27

Hardin County Health Department (1135 Redwood Street)

Dr. Santos Soberon is the Gift of Life Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer Prevention Honorary chair. For more information, call 409-833-3663.