Men perhaps aren’t the most proactive when dealing with their health, but a free clinic Saturday at Tillicum Centre aims to buck that trend with a full day of health assessments and testing.
The 13th annual Country Grocer Men’s Health Day offers an impressive slate of free tests for men of any age including glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, neck and throat cancer screening and PSA tests for men over 40, usually a $30 fee at the doctor’s office.
“Last year, we had 517 men come through and more than 600 men the year before that,” said Leanne Kopp, executive director with The Prostate Centre. “We caught 22 men with an elevated PSA test, which meant they should go on with further assessment. So there really is a big potential to save lives as well.”
The grassroots health day is funded in part by the Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live, which raises funds and awareness about prostate cancer with an annual ride through the Capital Region. The Father’s Day Walk/Run for Prostate Cancer also helps fund Saturday’s event as well as local cancer research.
“We want to make sure everything we provide to the men is completely accessible in the community,” Kopp said. The majority of test results on Saturday will be provided to men immediately, while blood tests will be forwarded to family doctors.
“There are a lot of men who don’t have family doctors, so Dr. Gordon Hoag, head of laboratory medicine at Island Health, will review all the tests of those who don’t have regular doctor and follow up if necessary,” Kopp said.
The largely volunteer-run Prostate Centre helps more than 1,000 men and their families each year as they move through prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The centre offers education, patient counselling, follow-up with patients and runs events to raise donations for prostate cancer research in partnership with the Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live.
A key mandate is remaining a “community based health organization,” Kopp said.
“People don’t need referrals to come to us. … And we have the capacity to help a lot more people, which is why events like this are so important to create awareness of what we do.”
Men’s health isn’t just about reactive medicine, it’s about focusing on preventative measures, particularly as men near age 40 and beyond, she added.
Men’s Health Day is open to men of all ages. All tests are free, and PSA testing will be offered by Island Health to men age 40 and older.
“You’re never too young or too old to take care of your health,” Kopp said. “There’s generally not a lot of promotion around men’s health and a preventative and proactive approach to maintaining good health. This is what Men’s Health Day is all about: It’s a very grassroots-level event where community-based organizations are connecting with men without barriers.”
Men’s Health Day runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the lower level of Tillicum Centre, 3170 Tillicum Rd. Bring a Care Card and identification. Call 250-388-0214 for more information.
WHAT’S A PSA TEST?
The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a simple blood test, taken from the arm, which measures the amount of PSA protein in the blood. It is common for PSA to be found in the blood in very small concentrations. Higher levels of PSA may indicate the presence of cancer, but can also be an indicator of other prostate conditions.