The free prostate screenings offered in Pike County Saturday by the Urology Health Foundation in Birmingham resulted in the largest number of participants in its 10-year history.
Sherry Wilson, Urology Centers, physician liaison, said 139 men were screened compared to 85 the first year.
“Every year the number of screenings has increased,” Wilson said. “That is an indication that more men are becoming aware of the importance of the screenings, which only take about 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes could save a man’s life.”
The screenings were performed by Brundidge native Dr. Michael Bivins of the Urology Centers of Alabama, and Dr. Pink Folmar, a retired physician who practiced in Pike County. Folmar stepped in for Dr. Thomas Moody, president of the Urology Health Foundation, who as unable to participate.
“We greatly appreciate Dr. Folmar’s willingness to step in for Dr. Moody,” Wilson said. “We also appreciate Constance Bivins, the mother of Dr. Bivins, for her assistance with the screenings. She was also a great promoter of the screenings. A lot guys participated because of her. We thank her for being feet on the ground.”
The free prostate screenings are done in 14 counties, primarily in the Black Belt region and those that are underserved and under insured.
Prostate cancer will affect one in six American men during their lifetime and is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States, Wilson said. Age and race are the strongest risk factors for prostate cancer.
African-American men are at special risk for the disease with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. One in four African American men will get prostate cancer sometime in their lives and are twice as likely to die of the disease as white men.
A man’s risk of prostate cancer also increases if he has a close relative with the disease.
Wilson said the increasing numbers of those participating in the screenings indicate that men are becoming more aware that the early screenings can save their lives.
The hope is that that number of men taking advantage of the free prostate screenings will increase even more.
However, the recommendations are that men age 40 and over consult with their personal physicians about prostate screening.