CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) has partnered with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) to offer free prostate cancer screening exams to men over 50 in Greater Cincinnati.
Known as the Drive Against Prostate Cancer, this major mobile screening event—which takes place across the United States—will roll into Cincinnati Saturday, May 13, at the Pleasant Ridge Wal-Mart, 3430 Highland Ave. No appointment is necessary and exams are given on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We hope our efforts will save lives, get people to notice the risks of prostate cancer, and then get involved in the cause,” says Richard Atkins, MD, chief executive officer of the NPCC.
“Many men avoid getting screened,” Atkins adds, “and part of the problem is that Ohio is one of the only states in the country that has no law mandating that insurance companies cover prostate cancer screenings.”
According to the American Cancer Society, of the estimated 234,460 men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006, about 4 percent will be from Ohio.
Free screenings include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam to check for growths. Low levels of PSA, a substance released into the bloodstream from the male prostate gland, can be found in healthy men. Elevated levels, however, often indicate prostate cancer.
The exams, which take about 20 minutes combined, will be conducted by physicians from the UC Cancer Center/Barrett Center. While waiting, the men can watch sports on TV, enjoy free snacks and surf the Internet in the 39-foot RV designed to look like a giant race car. The NPCC will mail patients’ their test results within one week.
“All men should begin annual PSA blood tests between the ages of 45 and 50,” says William Barrett, MD, director of the division of radiation oncology at UC. “African-American men over 45 with a family history of prostate cancer are most at risk.
“The good news is that when prostate cancer is detected in an early stage, it is very curable,” Dr. Barrett adds.
The NPCC Drive Against Prostate Cancer is sponsored by Gillette, Thor Industries, Greater Cincinnati American Cancer Society, the Center for Closing the Health Gap and UC Cancer Center.
In 2005, the NPCC screened more than 8,000 American men. Locally, the UC Cancer Center examined more than 400 men from low-income neighborhoods through its mobile prostate cancer screening program.
For those men who cannot attend the May 13 event, free prostate cancer screenings are also available through the UC Cancer Center/Barrett Center every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at Jordan’s Crossing, 7030 Reading Rd., Bond Hill.