Free Prostate Exams Thursday Sept. 20th

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

[UPDATE] Thanks Fred, that was PROSTATE not PROSTRATE (that’s what I get with 3 hours of sleep).

From today’s Daily Tar Heel

Prostate cancer will kill 27,000 men in the U.S. this year who might have survived with early treatment.

So UNC urologists will be giving free prostate screenings today as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week. The screenings will be from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at UNC Hospitals’ Urology Clinic on the second floor of N.C. Memorial Hospital, [MAP] and no appointment is needed.

“The hardest thing is getting people a setting where they can get checked,” said Eric Wallen, a urologist at UNC Hospitals, which has sponsored free screening events for 14 years. “We want to make it convenient for patients to get checked.”

Because prostate cancer is a slow-spreading disease, if it’s caught at an early stage, there is almost a 100 percent chance that it will be cured in five years.

Like a lot of men, I don’t really relish the old prostate exam, but considering the good prognosis if caught early, it’s something well worth doing.

I’m 45 and have younger friends that have dealt with prostate cancer. One of my dear neighbors is dealing with prostate cancer caught further into the progression. Modern tests can help catch this disease well before it becomes untreatable.

African-American men from eastern North Carolina have the highest rate of prostate cancer incidence in the country, Wallen said.

“The main importance of the week is to get men screened,” said Heather Eichhorn, director of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.

Although an N.C. law requires insurance companies to provide coverage for prostate screenings, Wallen said free exams are important because uninsured men often are deterred by the costs and hassle of finding a doctor for the test.

Without insurance, the tests cost between $50 and $150, he said.

Last year 460 men received free prostate exams during UNC’s awareness week, and 56 tested abnormal for the prostate-specific antigen blood test. Elevated PSA levels can indicate a problem in the prostate that isn’t necessarily cancer.

The digital rectal exam is a way to verify that a patient has cancer, and of those 56 men, two also tested abnormal for the DRE.

If you’re in the target age group, have been avoiding the old “bend over for me”, please, please, please avail yourself of this free service.

Mar. 25th: Community Gang Awareness Presentation

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

During last year’s WCHL 1360 [mp3] forum I suggested our community would be better served by allocating our tight police resources more to gang awareness and remediation than parading (or Segwaying) up and down Franklin St.

Sometime soon after thhe Police Department was awarded a $37,482 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission to address gang activity. The Town matched the grant with an additional $12,494. The funds were to be used “to pay overtime costs for additional patrols in the downtown district and residential neighborhoods that have experienced gang-related activity.” Further, “officers will receive additional training in gang recognition, and will use this knowledge to deliver awareness materials to local schools and community groups.”

When I learned from one of our local law enforcement leaders that the funds didn’t cover all the attendant expenses, I asked one of our elective leaders to look into boosting the fund by $15,000. That didn’t happen but I believe additional funds are forthcoming in this year’s budget (I’ll keep an eye out as the budget develops).

As far as community education, Officer Mitch McKinney, of the CHPD, will present a gang awareness seminar this Mar. 25th.

“Forewarned is forearmed”.

The Town of Chapel Hill, Sunrise Rotary, and the Chapel Hill/Carrboro YMCA are sponsoring a gang information presentation from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, in the auditorium at East Chapel Hill High School.

This presentation will include an informative session on the status of gang activity in our community and will feature prevention strategies for parents and caregivers. The featured presenter is Officer Mitch McKinney of the Chapel Hill Police Department. Officer McKinney has attended extensive training on gang activity and is a popular presenter on the subject.

Representatives from a variety of area youth-services providers will be on hand to answer questions about their programs and to distribute information.

The Community Gang Awareness Presentation is free and everyone is welcome. Light refreshments will be offered.

You can learn more at

For more information contact Officer McKinney at 919-968-2760 or



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