Jefferson County declares June Men’s Health Month

Jefferson County declares June Men’s Health Month

Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program, in conjunction with Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, is offering free prostate screenings Saturday, June 15, at Julie and Ben Rogers Cancer Institute, 3555 Stagg Drive in Beaumont; and Saturday, June 22, at Baptist Hospital, 608 Strickland Drive, in Orange. You are eligible for a screening if you have limited income and are underinsured or uninsured; if you are at least 45 years old; if you are age 40 and African American or younger if you have a family with history of prostate cancer. You must live in Southeast Texas and cannot have had prostate cancer before.

Prostate tests might include a blood sample and rectal exam, according to “Gift of Life” literature.

At the June 3 Jefferson County Commissioners Court meeting, the court made a proclamation naming June Men’s Health Month in the county.

“In 2013, nearly 16,000 men in Texas will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and an estimated 1,650 will die from the disease,” the Commissioners Court proclamation states.

“Men are still living five years shorter than women and that has devastating consequences both economically as well as emotionally for the women and for families in Southeast Texas,” Executive Director Norma Sampson from “Gift of Life” said. “This month as we celebrate Father’s Day as well as Men’s Health Month, we encourage all the men in our lives to take advantage of these screenings, to talk to your local physicians and ensure that you embrace a healthier lifestyle so you can be around for all of us to love you longer.”

The chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer increases with age, according to “Gift of Life” literature.

“Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men and nearly two thirds of men diagnosed are aged 65 or older. The cancer is rare before age 40. Your risk is higher if you have a family history of the disease. African-American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer of any ethnic group and the disease occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites.

“Symptoms of prostate cancer include urinary problems, difficulty having an erection, blood in the urine or semen, and frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thigh.”

The “Gift of Life” and medical partner, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, host a year-round effort to make available free prostate cancer blood test screenings at clinical sessions in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange during Men’s Health Month in June and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. At each location, a myriad of vital healthcare services are offered, including consultations with medical professionals to discuss good health practices, free PSA blood tests from Baptist Hospital phlebotomists, free blood glucose testing and free blood pressure checks.

Since 2000, the “Gift of Life” has raised the awareness level of prostate cancer through its educational outreach efforts and made available nearly 7,000 free prostate cancer screenings, helping extend the lives of more than 60 men whose diagnostic and cancer treatment costs were entirely funded by the organization.

During the past 24 months, seven men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and then navigated by a “Gift of Life” case manager through treatment, support services and other immediate resources, when needed.

Screenings are a family affair with critical educational materials available for participating men and their loved ones. “Gift of Life” also provides a Prostate Cancer Support Group, which meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 680 Calder in Beaumont. To find out if you qualify for a free prostate cancer screening and to make an appointment, call “Gift of Life” at (409) 833-3663.

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