LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Men are well-known for being reluctant to visit a doctor, whether for an illness or for a routine checkup, but the chance to win a television and meet a NASCAR Hall of Famer drew hundreds of men to a health screening in west Little Rock.
Epoch Men’s Health hosted its annual “Kickoff to Men’s Health” screening event at Arkansas Urology’s clinic Tuesday evening. It offered free physicals for all men, the opportunity to speak with doctors and health care companies, and freebies ranging from candies and pens to an autograph session with Mark Martin and frequent drawings for flat-screen televisions.
“Nobody is excited about a prostate exam,” admitted Dr. Adam Cole, national medical director for Epoch Men’s Health. “The flip side of that being, when you’re talking about a preventable form of cancer, it’s not really you that you need to be thinking about, but it’s your family and loved ones.”
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so prostate exams were a focus of the event.
“Prostate cancer’s a serious issue for men,” stated Mike Whitfield, president of Epoch Men’s Health. “Just as many men die from prostate cancer every year as women do from breast cancer, but nobody ever talks about the prostate cancer issue.
“If it’s detected and treated early, 98 percent of guys survive. If it’s caught late, that number drops to half. And if you’re an African-American male, you’re 40 percent more likely to suffer from a prostate issue, as well.”
Joseph Winfrey was one of the men who already understood the value of the exam. He said he has gotten a physical each of the last ten years. “Cancer runs kinda deep in my family, on my mother’s side and my father’s side,” he explained. “So I know how important it is, just being here for the rest of the family and for myself.”
Winfrey used fit the stereotype of the man who finds any excuse to put off a visit to the doctor.
“We know statistically, if a guy does not go to a doctor prior to the age of 25 for a chronic health condition, he most likely won’t go back until he’s 50-plus,” Whitfield stated, “and that’s just social programming.”
“I do maintenance and construction, so I can endure a little pain,” he said, “but a lot of times it’s internal, that you may not know about, so that’s when this is so important.”
Nationally, one in every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. That is slightly higher than the rate of women who will suffer from breast cancer. Whitfield added that Arkansas ranks second-to-last among states for the survival rate of men who get prostate cancer.
Dr. Cole mentioned that it is also one of the easiest cancers to treat, but that is only if the patient actually goes to see the doctor.
“There’s not a ton of signs or symptoms,” he added, “so really, the only way that we’re gonna know that it’s cooking, until it’s advanced, is if you come in and get screened, we draw some blood, and we do the exams.”
The company will hold another men’s health event at its North Little Rock clinic on September 29.
“We believe,” Whitfied said, “that good men, with good information, make good decisions. The problem is, there’s just not a lot of good information for guys out there, and because they don’t know where to go to get it, or what to do once they have it.”
“It’s here for you,” Winfrey added, “I mean, you should take advantage of it.”