Concert fundraises for mobile prostate exams
It’s what no man wants to hear.
Rural Albertan men should have their prostates examined more often.
“Men in general don’t seek annual physical and PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) tests,” said Pam Heard, executive director for the Prostate Cancer Centre in Calgary.
“We did a pilot test, and we found it quite strikingly higher in rural Alberta. Ranchers and farmers have sort of the tough-guy mentality.”
The Prostate Cancer Centre and Strathmore Ag Society are holding the inaugural Combines for Cures Country Concert Aug. 2 at the Strathmore AGRO Grandstand and outdoor Encana Stage to raise money for a mobile testing vehicle to visit rural Alberta communities.
“We call it the Man Van,” Heard said.
The vehicle provides convenience for those won’t go out of their way to get tested for prostate cancer and it has been operating in Calgary since 2010. Any community can book the van and find residents to sponsor the clinic which usually costs at about $1,500.
“All the money we’re raising with this program we are keeping in rural Alberta,” Heard said. “We’ll be hiring local nurses and using local labs.”
Heard said about 7,000 men have been tested in the Man Van.
In March, the Prostate Cancer Centre did a pilot project and sent the Man Van to five rural communities – Delburne, Lacombe, Crossfield, Olds and Trochu – and tested 265 men.
Heard said she was surprised by how many men showed up for testing.
“We thought we might have one or two guys show up,” she said. “There’s a real appetite out there.”
Now that she knows men will come out for testing, Heard said she wants to see the pilot project run all year. She added it’s important for men to get tested because one in seven men in Alberta will get prostate cancer, which is avoidable because the disease is easy to detect.
“It’s the number one cancer causing deaths in men in Canada and it’s 90 per cent curable if caught early,” she said.
The evening will start with a chuckwagon parade at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment provided by musicians Drew Gregory, Codie Prevost, Hey Romeo and Crystal Shawanda performing. There will be a fireworks display held at 11 p.m.
“We hope people come out and support us before the long weekend. Come out and enjoy a great concert,” Heard said, noting it is a family event.
Tickets are $30 for reserved seating and $35 at the gate, $25 for students and $95 for a family of four. Tickets are accessible online at www.combinesforcures.eventbrite.ca
“The impact (of prostate cancer) in rural Alberta is of great significance,” she said. “It’s more than a local impact.”