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Free prostate screenings held in Sumter County

The Sumter County Health Department hosted a free prostate cancer screening on April 3 in Livingston, sponsored by Urology Centers of Alabama, the Urology Health Foundation and the Sumter County Health Department. More than 100 men participated in this free screening.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading killer behind lung cancer among men in the United States. Early detection and treatment are key factors in addressing prostate cancer. No one knows the exact cause of prostate cancer. Doctors can seldom explain why one man develops the disease and another does not. Age and race are the strongest risk factors for prostate cancer. One in six men will get prostate cancer sometime in their life. African-American men are at special risk for the disease, with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. One in four African American men will get prostate cancer sometime in their life and are 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease.

Every man age 40 or over should resolve to be screened annually. Screening for prostate cancer involves a simple blood test called a PSA that measures the level of protein called prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Normally, PSA is found in the blood at very low levels. Elevated PSA readings can be a sign of prostate cancer. A physical examination is also given to detect prostate cancer. This exam is called a DRE or digital rectal exam. These tests take approximately 10 minutes to perform.