Won't hurt a bit. Is even likely to help.

Won't hurt a bit. Is even likely to help.

POTTSTOWN PA – Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC) will offer free screenings for the early detection of prostate cancer from Sept. 21 (2009; Monday) through Sept. 24 (2009; Thursday), the hospital announced Thursday (July 9, 2009).

Men over age 40, and those age 35 and identified as high risk, are encouraged to register. PMMC’s free prostate screening consists of two parts: a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam performed by a trained physician. Blood work must be drawn for the PSA between August 17 and September 14 at PMMC laboratories.

Registration is required. To register or get more information, call 610-327-7662.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American men, and early detection has been proven to save lives. If detected during early stages, the cancer is highly treatable. However, there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, so annual check-ups are important to increase early detection.

Age is the biggest risk factor of prostate cancer, with the likelihood of diagnosis greatly increasing after age 50. Some men, however are at higher risk: African Americans are diagnosed 60 percent more than white American men, and should begin screening as early as age 35. The chance of diagnosis doubles if a man’s father or brother has prostate cancer, so men with a family history of the disease should also begin early screening.