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St. James Hospital offering low cost prostrate screenings

L’Observateur / April 10, 1998

LUTCHER – While 13 of every 100 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, Dr. Clay Boyd, urologist of St. James Parish Hospital, said early treatment produces exceptional survival rates.

“Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in American men and three of every 100 will die from the disease. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are at a greater risk, especially if a father or brother has had the disease,” said Dr. Boyd.

The prostate is a male sex gland about the size of a walnut. Below the bladder, the prostate surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. It’s function is to produce some of the milky fluid that carries the sperm during ejaculation.

More than 😯 percent of the cases occur in men age 65 or older. However, prostate cancer can happen at any age. Research has not clearly determined why, but African-American men are at an increased risk.

“Routine screening for prostate cancer is recommended for every man 40 years old and over,” said Dr Boyd. “A digital rectal examination should be part of his regular annual checkup.”

St. James Parish Hospital will offer a low cost screening for all men in the community. The PSA screen will take only I0 minutes, and all screens will be assessed by a urologist. The screening will be available at the hospital Monday through April 3O for $15. Men should register at outpatient services in the lobby of the hospital Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

The American Cancer Society also recommends that men age 50 and over should have an annual prostate-specific antigen blood test. Further evaluation such as a transrectal ultrasound is the next step if the test has suspicious results.

“The good news is that survival rates are high when prostate cancer is found early,” said Dr. Boyd.

Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer are:

* Weak or interrupted urine flow

* Inability to urinate or difficulty starting or stopping the urine flow

* The need to urinate frequently, especially at night

* Blood in the urine

* Pain or burning during urination

* Continuing pain in lower back, pelvis or upper thighs

Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should be evaluated by a physician. Many of the symptoms could be similar to those caused by benign conditions such as infection of the prostate.

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