Hospital to offer free men's health service

Henry Medical Center (HMC) will offer a potentially life-saving screening for men, at no cost.

The hospital will provide free prostate screenings on Sept. 11, from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m., in the hospital's Foundation Education Center, according to Michelle Nunnally, HMC public relations specialist.

The hospital is located at 1133 Eagles Landing Parkway, in Stockbridge.

Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and the second-leading cause of cancer death in males, behind lung cancer, said Nunnally. This year, approximately 217, 730 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, and 32,050 men will die from it, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society.

"Screening for prostate cancer is extremely important, because it is so common in men, and is highly curable when diagnosed in early stages," said Nunnally.

Candidates for the free prostate screening must be male, age 40 or older, and must not have had a prostate screening in the past year, said Nunnally. Men wishing to be screened will have both a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and a digital rectal exam (DRE), she continued.

Men who have blood in their urine, pain on urination, or difficulty urinating, are not candidates for the screening, and should see their physician, said Nunnally.

The screenings are important, said Registered Nurse Vicky Ayers, the hospital's community educator.

"We want to be able to provide this to the public," said Ayers. "We feel like it's important for men to [come] in and take care of themselves."

The benefits of screening and early detection should not be discounted, she said.

"This year, we are following the American Urological Association guidelines, which state that men should have a careful discussion about the benefits and risks of prostate screening, before deciding to screen [for prostate cancer]," said Ayers.

A major obstacle preventing men from getting a prostate cancer screening is fear of the procedure, and fear of what the doctor may find, she said.

How often a man would need a prostate cancer screening depends on a number of factors, including age, family medical history, race, and previous PSA levels, added Ayers.

Pre-registration for the screening is required. To register, call (678) 604-1040, or go to www.henrymedical.com, and click on the free prostate screening link under "classes and events."