Just in time: St. Lukes Health Fair for men only

Published 2:40 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal recently. It started with a real punch: When it comes to their health, men are the weaker sex: They dont get check-ups as often as women, are hospitalized more often with preventable illnesses, and they die younger.

It went on to read that public health officials are trying to change that with a dark, but humorous ad campaign that tackles the serious issue of men in denial of their health risks.

The article stated there is no scientific evidence as to why men avoid regular health checks, but it could be attributed to the macho culture, a reluctance to undergo prostate and rectal exams, and the fear of actually finding a problem.

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But as we all know, prevention is the best medicine. Preventive medical tests can find diseases early, when theyre easiest to treat. The best way for men to take care of themselves and, ultimately those they love, is to actively take part in their healthcare through education and simple screenings.

To help men on the road to good health, St. Lukes Hospital is sponsoring the second For Men Only Health Fair. Held in June, which is nationally recognized as Mens Health Month and most known for Fathers Day, this Health Fair is reaching out to all dads, brothers, sons, grandfathers, husbands and boyfriends who sometimes need a reminder to take the extra time to care for themselves.

Men of all ages are invited to attend this free Mens Health Fair at St. Lukes Hospitals Outpatient Services Department tomorrow, Wednesday, June 23, from 57 p.m. Physicians, nurses and nursing students from Isothermal Community College-Polk Campus will be on hand to answer your questions, provide information and screenings for prostate health (thanks to urologists Dr. Clyde Gaffney and Dr. John Walton), blood pressure, body mass index and more. There will be information on smoking cessation, colon cancer, back health and stress. In particular for men over age 50, prostate examinations (blood tests and rectal exams) will be available at no charge. Another good benefit for men: food will be served! And therell be a few manly door prizes awarded as well.

As mentioned earlier, the event is free, but wed like to know how many men to expect, so youre advised to call 894-2408. If you plan to take advantage of the prostate screening with a urologist, itd be a good idea to call for an appointment.

Please dont avoid this opportunityit can save your life. I know because it saved John Does life. Really. While he asked that we not use his real name, John came to last years event to support St. Lukes outreach efforts and to take advantage of a free screening during a tough economy. Because of a family history, John was pretty conscientious about regular medical check ups. So he was surprised last year when Dr. Walton felt a hard node on his prostate gland despite the blood test result that was only slightly elevated.

The combination was not good-the results indicated a very fast growing cancer that could have taken his life within six months. Thanks to the free PSA screening, John underwent surgery to remove the cancer, along with the prostate. Im glad to report John is doing well, is cancer free and is adamant that men take charge of their health.

To all dads, brothers, sons, grandfathers, husbands and boyfriends, I challenge you to become educated and actively take part in your own health. If not for you, then do it for those you love. Join us as we celebrate Mens Health Month at St. Lukes Hospital, where we save lives through excellent care, close to home.

St. Lukes Hospital is a not for profit, acute care hospital affiliated with Carolinas Healthcare System of Charlotte, N.C., for specialized management expertise, experience with developing strong community-based clinical services, and participation in revenue and purchasing contracts. CHS is the largest healthcare system in the Carolinas and the third largest public system in the nation.