Us Too Grand Bahama executives are encouraging males in Grand Bahama to get tested, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month which takes place in September under this year’s theme, ‘Live with Hope.’
The organization is hosting a two-day screening at the Pearce Plaza Clinic on Coral Road on Friday, September 7 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 8 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and both testing events are open to the public.
Further Information about the month of Cancer Awareness event was discussed during a recent press conference at the Grand Bahama Cancer Society headquarters.
Us Too Grand Bahama was established in 2010 with the goal of supporting, educating and advocating prostate cancer awareness.
Averil Mortimer, Us Too Chapter Leader stated that during the month of September they have our annual screening of men. The screening includes a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). In 2017 they began testing for the BRCA gene mutation.
“In 2011 we screened 89 men and in 2017 screened almost 700 men. This year our aim is to screen 800 men. Screening is free to all men,” he said.
Us Too is supported by donations from the general public, community minded corporate citizens and fund-raisers. It is estimated that costs will be in excess of $30,000. Although screenings are free, Us Too ask that persons who can afford it make a small donation of $10 to this cause. Those who cannot afford it will not be refused services.
“We also started a promotion this year called SEA Blue Fridays,” he said.
He added that SEA means to support, educate and advocate and blue is the color for prostate cancer. Members are also encouraged to wear Us Too T-Shirts on Fridays beginning August 31 to September 28.
Don Mitchell, Screening Chairman and eight-year cancer survivor spoke on what is to be expected during the screenings. He stated that screening for men in Grand Bahama annually is an “earth-shattering” thing.
“It’s a breakthrough for us to be able to do this,” he said.
He furthered that the screening time date and time was created to accommodate everyone interested in being screened.
“We don’t want to leave anybody out,” he said.
Mitchell furthered that the screenings consist of a combination of doctors, other health care professionals and volunteers who work in various areas.
“Added to that we have the Healthy Lifestyle Unit of the Rand Memorial Hospital,” he said.
He added that this allows men getting screened to receive body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose testing.
“So, we try to incorporate as much as we can,” he said.
According to Mitchell, each man being tested also gets to have individual conversations with doctors about their general health.
He revealed that the annual screenings have resulted in numerous cancer survivors and advised persons who have a family history of prostate cancer to get tested from age 35 instead of waiting until age 40.
“You must get screened every year,” he said.
He then revealed that a research team from Philadelphia will be arriving in Grand Bahama this week to conduct research on the men that will be screened in September.
“The research in the form of interviews and saliva tests will be conducted at Quantum Physicians Facility,” he said.
From September 3-6, resident men who have had prostate cancer will be invited to the facility for interviews and testing.
Mitchell revealed that this initiative is also a partnership with the Grand Bahama Cancer Society, some of whom are members of Us Too as well. Cody Dean, a prostate cancer survivor took the opportunity to encourage men to get their PSA tests during the press conference. He stated that in 2014 his PSA level was high and in 2015 he was diagnosed with cancer. By 2016 he had stage four cancer.
“I did all the treatment and as a result today I’m a survivor,” he said.
Dean added that although he was not screened through Us Too or the Grand Bahama Society he wants to emphasize how important it is for men to get screened.
Lorine Miller, President of the GB Cancer Society and Us Too Member also encouraged persons to get screened. She informed that a town meeting regarding prostate awareness month will be held on Friday (August 31) at the Bahamas Public Service Union Hall starting at 7:00 p.m.
Miller then revealed that a luncheon fund-raiser will be held September 30 at 2:00 p.m. at the Flamingo Restaurant. Dr. Robin Roberts will be the guest speaker for that event.