This month, the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute will be offering free prostate health screenings to men within Forsyth County.
According to Dale Israel, disparities outreach coordinator at Northside Hospital, men ages 45 to 75 who have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer and have not had a prostate exam in the last year are eligible for the free screening.
Israel said that beyond the exam, they will be providing additional information on prostate health and what to do if an abnormality is found.
“We aren’t going to just screen them and say ‘you have prostate cancer’ and leave them to their own devices. We will certainly support them.” she said.
Northside Hospital Forsyth Prostate Screening
When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 22
Where: Northside Hospital Forsyth Cancer Center, 1100 Northside Forsyth Drive, Suite 140 Cumming
Call to register: 404-531-4444
The screening will consist of a non-invasive blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test that looks for irregularities or spikes in a certain prostate produced antigen in the blood stream.
Israel said that last year system wide, Northside Hospital gave 277 men prostate screenings and of those they discovered 53 men with abnormalities. She said that since 2007 the hospital system has screened more than 3,500 men for prostate cancer. “And we get better and better every year,” she said.
Added Israel: “If I could I’d cure the world and screen every man. And I do expect our numbers to go up as the word gets out.”
According to the American Cancer Society, aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis that American men face. The organization estimates that 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018, and about 29,430 men will die from it.
According to W. Hamilton Williams, radiation oncologist practicing at Northside Hospital, all men are at risk from prostate cancer, but there are some groups that have a higher or lower risk than others.
“African American men are probably at the highest risk for prostate cancer. They tend to develop it earlier and some people believe that when it is found it’s more aggressive,” Williams said.
He said that the current recommendation for Caucasian men, with no family history of prostate cancer and other factors, is to get tested at age 50. Williams said that due to their higher risk, the current recommendation is that African American men should get tested earlier at age 40.
He said that other ethnicities should also get tested at age 50.
The screening will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Northside Hospital Forsyth Cancer Center.
Israel said that the facility will have Spanish interpreters at the screening.
Anyone interested in the program should register before attending by calling (404) 531-4444.