It's time to sign up for East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System's ninth annual free prostate cancer screening for men. Last year, ETMC screened over 1,600 men. From our annual ETMC PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood tests, 137 tests came back with abnormalities. These men were referred to their doctors for further evaluation.
The screening is a simple blood test, which identifies the level of PSA in the blood. An elevated level is an early sign of prostate cancer. During the past eight years, ETMC has screened more than 25,000 men during its annual June prostate cancer screening.
You are at risk and eligible for the screening if you have one or more of these that apply to you:
Symptoms of prostate cancer may include a painful or burning sensation when urinating; difficulty starting or stopping urine flow or inability to urinate; continuous pain in the lower back, pelvis or upper thighs; painful ejaculation; frequent urination; and blood in urine.
"When prostate cancer is in its earliest, most curable stage, there may be no symptoms to warn you," according to James Kolker, MD, radiation oncologist, and medical director of the ETMC Cancer Institute. "Prostate cancer is highly curable when detected early."
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer kills 27,050 men each year and every man has a one-in-six chance of developing the disease in his lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. One in 34 men will die from prostate cancer. This year 218,890 new cases will be found. African-American men are more likely to have prostate cancer and to die of it than are white or Asian men. The good news is that the death rate is going down because the disease is being found earlier.
"The earlier prostate cancer is detected, the more options you have," Dr. Kolker added. "In addition to surgery, radiation beam therapy, hormone therapy and various combinations of these treatments, such as radioactive seed implant are available. This is a one-day procedure in which small radioactive seeds are placed inside the prostate gland to give a direct, high dose of radiation to the prostate tumor. Many early prostate cancers can be treated this way."
In June prostate screenings will be available at a number of ETMC sites including Athens, Carthage, Cedar Creek Lake, Clarksville, Crockett, Fairfield, Gilmer, Jacksonville, Mt. Vernon, Pittsburg, Quitman, Rusk, Trinity, and Tyler. You must have an appointment to take advantage of these special screenings. Please call ETMC HealthFirst (Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.) to schedule your appointment at
Proceeds from ETMC's Henry M. Bell, Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament help underwrite the prostate cancer screenings. The 6th annual charity tournament is set for Friday, September 21 at Willow Brook Country Club.