Hospital to offer free prostate exams

By BRYN STOLE Staff Writer

Doctors from the Greenwood-Leflore Hospital will be offering free prostate cancer screenings to men in the community next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The screenings are being offered by advance appointment only while space is available and will be held at the Greenwood-Leflore Hospital’s walk-in clinic from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Appointments may be made by calling Allison Faulkner,  the hospital’s director of marketing and communications, at 451-5011.

Dr. James R. Hardin, a urologist with the Greenwood Urology Clinic who will be performing some of the screenings, said the program is aimed at those without a regular primary care physician or those who go without a regular prostate exam.

“The patients that we need to screen are those that haven’t had it done before,” Hardin said.

Hardin said an annual prostate exam is recommended for men aged 55 to 69. For black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer, the exams are recommended starting at age 45.

Hardin said recent research indicated that those with a normal first screening can switch to having a prostate exam every two years instead of annually.

Faulkner said the free screenings take a considerable amount of time and effort from the hospital’s doctors and nurses.

“It’s a great service to the community,” Faulkner said. “We’re very grateful to all the doctors who take the time out of their schedules.”

A prostate cancer screening involves drawing and analyzing a vial of blood as well as a digital rectal exam — in which an examining physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to check the size, shape and consistency of the prostate.

Hardin said the screenings should take just a few minutes each and aren’t painful.

Cancer of the prostate gland — a small, walnut-sized gland that forms part of the male reproductive system —  is the most common type of cancer in men, affecting about one in every seven men, according to Hardin.

Treatment for the disease is generally very effective if the cancer is diagnosed early.

The free screenings have been offered through the hospital for about 25 years and are conducted as part of a larger study through the Colorado-based Prostate Conditions Education Council.

• Contact Bryn Stole at 581-7235 or bstole@gwcommonwealth.com.