Age-appropriate Prostate Cancer Screenings urged
One in seven American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. More than 233,000 will be diagnosed this year, 29,480 of whom will die.
Still, many men, including an unusually high percentage of men in the Mahoning Valley, don’t get age-appropriate prostate cancer screenings. Black men in the Mahoning Valley are twice as likely to get prostate cancer and to die from it as any other race, according to the Man Up Mahoning Valley organization.
As part of an ongoing effort to change that, Man Up Mahoning Valley, Mercy Health Cancer Centers, Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, NEO Urology, General Motors Lordstown, United Auto Workers Locals 1112 and 1714, Youngstown Phantoms hockey and several community leaders have joined forces to generate awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to get the age-appropriate screenings that could save their lives.
Screenings consist of a digital rectal exam and a blood draw to check the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
“It’s important to get both the digital exam and the PSA test because, with many men, suspicious findings are detected by one and not the other,” said urologist Dr. Dan Ricchiuti.
He recommends men begin annual prostate cancer screenings at 40; earlier, if there is a family history of prostate cancer.
Participants in the effort to raise awareness about prostate cancer recently gathered for a ceremonial Movember kickoff at Partners for Urology Health in Austintown.
“Growing a mustache is a fun way to get involved and raise awareness and it doesn’t cost anything,” says Jonathon Fauvie, gift officer, Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley.
Movember, a combination of the Australian-English diminutive word for mustache and November, is an annual event involving growing of mustaches during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as depression, prostate cancer and other male cancers.
Participants start the month clean shaven but grow and groom their mustaches the rest of the month.
“The mustaches, especially on men who don’t usually have one, are a conversation starter,” Fauvie explains.
“When somebody says something about it, that’s an opportunity to say, ‘I’m growing it to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the need for age-appropriate screenings,” he said.
With prostate cancer, there are no symptoms until the disease is in advanced stages. Because most prostate cancers can be cured if they are discovered early, routine screenings are imperative, said Dr. Ricchiuti.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to talk with their doctors and get annual screenings,” Fauvie says.
“We hope we’ll have men throughout the entire community challenging their friends, families and co-workers to grow mustaches and spread the word about the importance of prostate cancer screenings.”
“We hope women will get involved, too. Women can’t grow mustaches, but they can encourage the men in their lives to see their doctors,” Fauvie said.
For information about the Movember campaign, visit www.facebook.com/ManUPMahoningValley.