ALBANY, GA (WALB) - By Darrel Sabbs-
As Phoebe's Community Benefit Coordinator, I have organized many events over the years aimed at improving the health of those in our community. That includes an annual Men's Health Fair during National Men's Health Week.
In the past, many men who attended those fairs were eager to undergo a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, screening. It's a quick and easy blood test that can aid in the early detection of prostate cancer.
Unfortunately, based on recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Task Force in 2012, we were forced to discontinue those tests.
A number of physicians on the hospital staff believed that decision was not in the best interest of men, especially in southwest Georgia where we have a high percentage of men who are uninsured or underinsured and high rates of prostate cancer cases and deaths.
Many people, including doctors in our region, advocated for change in the recommendations for testing. I personally spoke to doctors and patients in southwest Georgia and joined with men's health stakeholders around the country to study the issue. We urged Congressional leaders to take a closer look at the screening guidelines, and I was proud to speak at a recent Congressional briefing on this issue in Washington, DC.
I am happy to let you know, the U.S. Preventive Task Force listened to these concerns and updated the guidelines.
All men should have an equal opportunity to discuss various screening tools and their potential benefits and risks with clinicians to make informed choices for their health.