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Mary Immaculate Hospital holds free prostate cancer screenings

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"In the past five years Mary Immaculate Hospital has been offering free screening, we have alerted some men to abnormalities and they were then able to follow up with their private physicians or the hospital," said Juliet Lewis, a spokeswoman for the hospital. "That's positive because show this service can raise cancer awareness in men who would not otherwise get tested."

Sites where free testing will be conducted include Jamaica YMCA, 89-25 Parson Blvd., Jamaica, on Monday, June 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; York College, 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica, on Wednesday, June 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; St. Catherine's of Sienna R.C. Church, 118-22 Riverton St., St. Albans, on Thursday, June 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Mary Immaculate Outpatient Department, 152-11 89th Ave., Jamaica, on Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A PSA test, or prostate-specific antigen test, is a simple blood test that is used to detect the blood level of PSA, a protein made by the prostate. Increased levels may indicate prostate cancer, which the American Cancer Society (ACS) ranks as the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, following lung, on its website.

Early detection, however, enables men to pursue several effective treatment options. Prostate cancer is unique among cancers because it progresses at slow rate, Lewis noted.

"This is such an important and easy non-invasive test for men to get every year to check for prostate cancer," said Dr. Neil Mandava, chairman of surgery at Mary Immaculate Hospital. "Families can encourage their fathers to be tested as part of their Father's Day gift to him. If caught early, prostate cancer is very treatable."

At heightened risk are African-American men, who are more likely than Caucasian men to develop the disease and twice as likely to die of it. Men with several first-degree relatives who had the cancer at an early age are also more likely to develop it themselves Mary Immaculate Hospital recommends that both groups begin receiving annual PSA tests at age 40.

ACS estimates that more than 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, with more than 30,000 men dying of the disease.

"Mary Immaculate Hospital is part of the Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers system, which screened nearly 5,300 men for the cancer last year," Lewis noted.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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