Here’s where men can get free prostate screenings this month in Jefferson & Orange counties

Published 12:36 am Friday, September 2, 2022

In an attempt to help medically underserved men in Southeast Texas get potentially lifesaving treatment, Gift of Life will host two prostate screening events this month.

On Sept. 10, the group will be at the Industry Safety Training Council Conference in Beaumont from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Orange Baptist Hospital Outpatient Lobby.

The Beaumont event will be a first for the nonprofit.

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“We did this because we wanted to have a really centralized location with us providing transportation and access to care, for men to come together, and to take advantage of these services that are well over $300 in labs as well as having point of care,” said Executive Director Norma Samson.

“Our purposes and the goal, again, is early detection…identify (men previously undetected) with outcomes that will navigate them to primary care physicians or to the local federally qualified clinics. And more importantly, our collaboration with the Port Arthur Health Department has been a cornerstone in this year’s new defined initiative that we have with our men screening.”

According to information from the Gift of Life, aside from skin cancer, one in every eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It’s estimated that this year 17,850 men in Texas will be diagnosed, and more than 2,200 will die.

Since 2000, the Gift of Life has performed nearly 11,000 prostate screenings, resulting in 77 diagnoses that resulted in access to treatment.

Because, said Medical Director Gwendolyn Lavalais, early detection is the mission.

“It’s all about saving lives and making a better future for themselves and their families,” she said.

Samson said Gift of Life also has a group called the MAC Men, or Men Against Cancer.

“They are advocates and out in the community, particularly Port Arthur, registering men and encouraging the men who can’t afford health insurance or their high deductibles to take advantage of our life saving services,” she said.

One of the members, Mac English of Beaumont, is a 16-year survivor.

“I encourage all men,” he said. “This disease does not discriminate. You have to get checked. I caught it early, but if you don’t catch it and you get it in your bones, you’re in trouble.”

Tuesday evening Mayor Thurman Bartie presented Gift of Life with a proclamation acknowledging November as Prostate Awareness Month.

In addition to prostate exams, Gift of Life also provides breast health screenings at sites in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. They also have an educational outreach program, as well as an initiative to end tobacco use, among others. For more information, visit giftoflifebmt.org.