Free prostate screenings offered

Published 10:19 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Dallas County Health Department in partnership with Dr. Thomas Moody of the Urology Health Center in Birmingham will offer free prostate screenings for men Saturday.

The percentage of men who get tested in the state of Alabama is low and because of that, the death rate from prostate cancer is third highest in the nation, according to Moody.

“Black Belt areas probably have a lot of men who are not getting checked whether it be because of the economy and poor employment. Fewer of them have insurance,” Moody said.

The screenings will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Moody said the screening is a great chance for men in the community to learn more about their health.

He referred to prostate cancer as a disease that could be a life or death situation.

“In Alabama, the death rate for prostate cancer among black men has been a lot higher than it has been for whites,” Moody said. “In the past few years, that difference has started to narrow.”

He said he understands that some men are afraid to get tested because they don’t know what to expect.

“It’s nothing about it that is unpleasant or painful. They get a digital rectal exam that takes like 10 seconds as well as a blood test,” Moody said.

The entire process takes less than 10 minutes, which he believes can save lives.

He said those who can’t afford treatment for the disease should not be hesitant to get tested though.

“If we do find something that needs attention and they don’t have funds or insurance, we’ll take care of them anyway. There is no financial barrier to getting checked,” Moody said.

Over the years, pastor John Grayson of Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ has been an advocate for prostate cancer screenings in Black Belt areas. He has provided free transportation, meals and overall support of the cause.

The high numbers of black men the disease continues to affect is what sparked Grayson’s interest and encouraged him to get involved.

“This is a number one killer in the African-American community. This is our way of bringing awareness to prostate cancer and letting people know if they get treatment in time, they can survive it,” Grayson said.