On Saturday, the Urology Health Foundation will hold a free prostate cancer screening for men 40 years of age and older from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Marshall County Health Department on 150 Judy Smith Dr. in Guntersville, Alabama. No appointments are needed.

Prostate cancer will affect 1-in-6 American men during their lifetime and is the third leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Age and race are the strongest risk factors for prostate cancer. African-American men are at special risk for the disease, with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. 1-in-4 African-American men will get prostate cancer sometime in their life and are more than twice as likely to die of the disease as white men. A man’s risk of prostate cancer also increases if he has a close relative with the disease.

According to Dr. Thomas Moody, president of the Urology Health Foundation, there are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages. If, however, a man with prostate cancer waits to act until he has symptoms, the cancer may already have grown outside the prostate and progressed to the point where it is rarely curable. Dr. Moody stresses that regular screening offers the best way to maximize a man's chances of discovering the cancer while it is still in its early — and most curable — stages.

Screening for prostate cancer involves a simple blood test called a PSA that measures the level of protein called prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Normally PSA is found in the blood at very low levels. Elevated PSA readings can be a sign of prostate cancer. A physical examination — called a digital rectal exam or DRE — is also given to detect prostate cancer. Together, these tests take about 10 minutes to perform and could save a man’s life.

Early detection and treatment are key factors in addressing prostate cancer. That is why on Saturday, June 23, men are encouraged to come to the Marshall County Health Department to be screened.

For more information about this free screening, please contact the Marshall County Health Department at 256-582-3174.

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