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Health department offers free prostate and oral cancer screenings

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[January 08, 2009]  Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the men of Logan County. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Early on, prostate cancer has no symptoms, but it can be detected by testing the prostate-specific antigen, known as PSA, in the blood and examining the prostate for bumps or hard areas. When prostate cancer is treated in its early, localized phase, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. These are all compelling reasons for men to have an annual prostate cancer screening, according to Mark Hilliard, administrator of the health department.

CivicOn Jan. 26 from 4 to 6 p.m., the Logan County Department of Public Health is hosting a free prostate cancer screening for all men 40-70 years of age who have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are not routinely being seen by an urologist. Blood will be drawn for the PSA level, blood pressures will be checked, and a prostate exam will be done by a physician. This is a $200 value.

Additionally, oral cancer screening will be offered to both males and females of any age. There is also no charge for this screening done by a registered dental hygienist. The five-year survival rate for oral cancers is only about 50 percent. Critical in preventing oral cancers is preventing high-risk behaviors that include cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking; use of smokeless tobacco; and excessive use of alcohol. Oral cancer today occurs twice as often in males as in females. This is considerably different from the 5-1 male-to-female ratio of 40 years ago. Increased tobacco use among women is the main reason for the change in cancer rates compared with rates in the 1950s. Age is also a factor. Ninety-five percent of oral cancers occur among individuals over the age of 40, and 60 is the average age at diagnosis, according to Mary Southerlan, a registered dental hygienist at the health department.

Early detection is key to increasing the survival rate for these cancers. As an added bonus, free massages will be available from a licensed massage therapist.

Appointments for the prostate screening are required. Call the health department to schedule an appointment at 217-735-2317.

[Text from file received from the Logan County Department of Public Health]

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