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M. D. Anderson Offers Free Weekly Prostate Screenings At Acres Home and Riverside General Hospital;

M. D. Anderson Offers Free Weekly Prostate Screenings At Acres Home and Riverside General Hospital;
Program's Funding Secured by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/23/03

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is taking free, ongoing weekly prostate cancer screenings directly into two communities that are home to traditionally high-risk and medically-underserved populations via a targeted outreach program.

With federal funding secured by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, M. D. Anderson physicians and staff are offering free weekly prostate cancer education and early detection clinics at Acres Home Multi-Service Center (6719 West Montgomery) and Riverside General Hospital (3204 Ennis), facilities in the Third Ward that serve minority populations. The screenings will be held at
Acres Home every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and at Riverside every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For appointments or information, please call (713) 563-1371.

The free program includes a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test that measures prostate specific antigen (PSA).  Men who are screened will receive prostate cancer information and complete a brief confidential questionnaire regarding their personal and family medical histories.

M. D. Anderson Cancer Center recommends yearly digital rectal exams and PSA tests for African American men beginning at age 45.  For African American men who have a family history of prostate cancer (father, brother, grandfather or uncle), screening should begin at age 40.

"We know that early detection of prostate cancer can save lives, and because African American men are at greater risk, it is vital to provide a comprehensive program that encompasses needs on all levels and that anticipates needs.  This program offers free and convenient screening along with an education component and services to help those who are uninsured or underinsured," said Curtis Pettaway, M.D., head of the Prostate Outreach Project and a prostate cancer specialist at M. D. Anderson.  "We are very fortunate to have the support of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who was instrumental in funding and guiding this program, and our partners at Acres Home and Riverside Hospital who provide the facilities.

"We want this program not only to provide a physical examination, but offer a safe haven for asking questions, calming fears, learning about prostate cancer and other cancers, offering support and spreading the word about the importance of screening," continued Pettaway. "We also want to learn new ways to serve and communicate with men at highest risk and be creative in our approaches so we can reduce the death rate due to prostate cancer."

"One of the many beauties of this program is that it is breaking down obstacles to prostate cancer screening, the best way to detect cancer at its earliest - and most treatable - stage," said Rep. Jackson Lee.  "Because the screenings are free, in locations that are convenient and special services are available to serve those who underinsured or uninsured, money is no
longer a barrier to prostate screening. This program is also intended to break down fears about prostate cancer, another major obstacle that may be an equal factor in why men do not get screened.  We cannot lose any more men to prostate cancer because of money and fear."

Men who come to the screenings at Acres Home or Riverside, will be offered educational information on prostate cancer screening, risk, prevention, treatment and clinical trials.  Volunteers, who are prostate cancer survivors, will be on hand at the clinics to offer support and answer questions.

For men who are screened through the Prostate Outreach Project and require follow up, referrals will be made based on the need for further evaluation. For those men who require additional followup and are underinsured or uninsured, assistance will be available through both clinics.

"We want men to come to the screenings and not be afraid of the examination or what might be found," said Pettaway.  "However, if there is a need for further testing or examination, we want men to feel that they are armed with information, support and confidence so they can see their way through a time that might be a little frightening."

The Center for Research on Minority Health, an investigational, educational and outreach component of M. D. Anderson, participated in the development of the Prostate Outreach Project and is vital to its outreach effort.

According to the National Cancer Institute, African American men in the United States have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world.  They have a 60% higher incidence rate of prostate cancer than Caucasian men, and African American men are twice as likely to die from the disease than other Americans.

M. D. Anderson also offers free prostate screenings at its Cancer Prevention Center at 1515 Holcombe Blvd. every other Wednesday.  To schedule an appointment for a free PSA blood test and digital rectal exam for this location, call 713/792-8924.

For information about prostate cancer, contact the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service toll free at 1-800-4-CANCER.


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center