Commissioners proclaimed June “Men’s Health Month” in a Monday, June 2, meeting of the Orange County Commissioners Court.
Representatives from Gift of Life visited the court to promote their prostate cancer initiative, which raises awareness and offers free prostrate cancer screenings among other health screenings to eligible men in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange.
During the last 24 months, seven men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and navigated by a Gift of Life case manager through cancer treatment, support services and other immediate resources, when needed, Gift of Life Public Relations Coordinator Ashlynn Lalonde said. With Father’s Day just around the corner, Lalonde said it is important for men over the age of 45 to remember to get screened and for their loved ones to encourage them to do so.
“One in seven men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and it’s estimated that nearly 30,000 men (nationwide) will lose their lives to the disease this year,” Lalonde said. “We just encourage men in the community to be aware of what decisions you can make … to ensure that you live a healthy life.”
Lalonde continued, “Because of the impact on mothers, daughters and sisters, (prostate cancer) is really a family issue. So we like to tell the women in their lives as well that it is an important issue, and they should encourage the men in their lives to get screened.”
The Gift of Life with medical partner, Baptist Hospitals and other local healthcare providers, will offer free screenings along with vital healthcare information to hundreds of medically underserved Southeast Texas men.
Prostate cancer screenings will be held in Beaumont Saturday, June 14, at Lamar Institute of Technology; Saturday, June 21, at Baptist Hospital in Orange; and Saturday, June 28 at the Carl Parker Center in Port Arthur.
The Gift of Life screens men who are at least 45 years of age who have not had prostate cancer, have limited income and are medically underinsured. If there is a family history of prostate cancer, men should be screened at a younger age. Screening is encouraged for African-American men beginning at the age of 40 because, according to statistics, they are more likely to develop the disease.
Eligible men will receive a range of free medical services, including consultations with medical professionals to discuss the screenings and significance of test results, healthy lifestyle practices, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests from Baptist Hospital phlebotomists, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure testing, HIV screenings from representatives of the Baptist Cancer Center and Hepatitis C screenings from representatives of Triangle Aids Network. Additionally, the Dauphin Screening and Prevention Center, the Gift of Life, UTMB and Triangle Aids Network will provide educational materials.
“These screenings are essential to the ever-increasing need for healthcare services in our region,” a Gift of Life press release states. “Early detection is the best protection and statistics reflect that the five-year survival rate for men whose prostate cancer is diagnosed early is nearly 100 percent.”
Since 2000, the Gift of Life has made available nearly 7,500 free prostate cancer screenings and helped extend the lives of 64 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and whose diagnostic and cancer treatment costs were entirely underwritten by the Gift of Life.
Gift of Life visited the Jefferson County Commissioners Court on June 2, as well.
Call the Gift of Life to find out if you qualify for a screening and to make an appointment: (409) 833-3663.