This age group especially those males age 65 and older areat risk for prostate cancer, which can be fatal if not detected early enough.

That's why the Pottstown Memorial Regional Cancer Center is offering free prostate cancer screenings during National Prostate Cancer Month from Monday September 15 to Thursday September20.

"Prostate cancer is a screenable cancer," emphasizes Peggy Neese. RN, BSN, OCN, patient care manager at the cancer center. "So much can be done if it's detected early."

She says that, according to studies, prostate cancer is the cancer that occurs most in males not including skin cancer. "It's a common cancer in males over 50, and especially after 65."

If left undetected and untreated, prostate cancer can spread from the prostate gland to bone and major organs. The prostate gland, which assists in the reproductive process, is part gland and part

muscle. It surrounds the neck of the bladder and the urethra.

Neese explains that, while an enlargement of the prostate can cause discomfort, it may not necessarily mean that a male has cancer. "Most men tend to have an enlarged prostate," she says. "It's part

of the normal process of aging. But a screening can determine if the prostate is cancerous."

Some signs that may be associated with prostate cancer include:

- The slowing down or weakening of the urinary stream

- More frequent urination

- Blood in the urine

- Impotence

- Pain in the hips, ribs, spine or pelvic bone

"If his grandfather, father, or his brother has had an incidence of prostate cancer, it is very important that a male talk with his doctor," continues Neese. "If the male is black, it is even more important

to consult with a doctor because of the historically high rate of prostate cancer incidence among black males."

The procedure for the free prostate cancer screening is quite simple. A blood test, which needs to be taken at PMMC before the actual screening, is the first step. Then, a rectal examination is

scheduled for the week of Sept. 15. Before the exam, the male will complete a brief medical questionnaire focused on issues affecting the prostate gland. The exam is then given by one of PMMC's

urologists (a specialist in pelvic areas such as the bladder and the prostate gland) or oncologists (a cancer specialist).

Results are reviewed and a copy is sent to the male's family physician. The family physician then becomes part of the process if follow up is needed.

"Nobody wants to hear the word 'cancer'," said Neese. "But a screening can also allay a person's fear of cancer. He may not have it.

"But an early sign of prostate cancer can also be detected. It is curable if detected early. To put off taking a prostate screening could make it harder to help."

To register for this free prostate cancer screening, call the Educational Services Center at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center: 610-327-PATH. Part of the hospital, the Pottstown Memorial Regional

Cancer Center is located at 1600 East High Street, on the second floor in the outpatient care pavilion, Pottstown.

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