Free prostate screening offered at UHNBC

To guarantee good prostate health in 2015, there is a free screening for men Saturday, Jan. 17 at the University Hospital of Northern B.C.

This event is one of three offered by the Rotary Club of Prince George to continue with their effort to raise awareness and educate men on potential health issues and to help prevent chronic disease.

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Two of the screenings are for the prevention of prostate cancer and one will focus on cardiovascular health.

Prostate cancer is highly preventable with early diagnosis and one in seven men are affected by the disease.

The morning screening begins with an information session at 9 a.m. and appointments start at 10 a.m. The afternoon screening begins at noon with an information session and appointments are from 1 to 5 p.m.

"Physicians like to do both forms of screening, including a digital rectal examination or DRE and a PSA, which is a prostate-specific antigen test," said Ross Birchall, chair of the men's health initiative.

The doctor will start off with the DRE and then if there's any signs a PSA might be required like an enlarged prostate, or a node found during the digital rectal exam, the doctor will follow up with a PSA. Then the patient is referred to their family physician. If the patient does not have a family physician they can be referred to a doctor that is taking new patients thanks to information provided by the Prince George Division of Family Practice, said Birchall.

The free screenings are funded by November's Big Blue Ball, which raised $50,000 for these and other initiatives.

The screening takes place on the fifth floor at the clinical skills department in the hospital.

Men have to pre-register for the event by calling 250-617-2711.

The next free screenings are for cardiovascular health on Saturday, April 18, and for prostate health on Saturday, Sept. 5.

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