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Free prostate screenings on June 13

It will only take 10 minutes – 10 minutes that could save your life.

A free prostate screening for the community is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 13, 2009 at the Butler County Health Department on Airport Road in Greenville. The screening is a joint effort between the BCHD and the Urology Centers of Alabama.

Dr. Lee Hammontree, a urologist at the center’s Birmingham location, discussed the importance of such screenings along with improvements in treating prostate cancer in an interview with the Advocate.

“Prostate cancer occurs in one out of every six men on average, and one out of every four African-American men. It’s all too common, but the good news is, if caught early, it is highly treatable.”

Treatments include removing the prostate along with less invasive robotic procedures, cryosurgery and the implantation of radioactive pellets.

“If these types of procedures don’t cure the cancer, there are treatments that can keep it under control,” Hammontree said.

“Some prostate cancers are much more serious and dangerous than others. Our hope is through these screenings, we can catch problems early and then ultimately save some lives.”

Modern treatments also greatly reduce the problems of incontinence and impotence in prostate cancer patients. The American Cancer Society is now recommending all men 40 and up should get a screening.

A PSA reading of 2.5 or less is recommended for those in their 40s; 3.5 or less in their 50s; under 4 for 60 and over, with readings of 5 and 6 common for men in their 70s and 80s.

Hammontree and a fellow urologist, Dr. Tom Moody, will be conducting the screenings, along with staff members from the local health department. A blood test and prostate exam are required for the screening.

For more information, call 382-3154.