Prostate Cancer Centre photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
May 10, 2023
The MAN VAN will be making an appearance in Blairmore on May 15.
The MAN VAN will be making an appearance in Blairmore in the fight against prostate cancer on May 15 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Elks Hall.
Canada’s first and only mobile men’s health clinic, the MAN VAN, offers free PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood testing for men aged 40 to 80 throughout rural southern Alberta and Calgary. According to Prostate Cancer Centre, one in nine men in Canada will be affected by prostate cancer and, when detected early, is very treatable.
A PSA blood test from your family doctor or a quick trip to the MAN VAN can aid in early detection. Ken Rabb, the Senior Community Partnerships Advisor for the Prostate Cancer Centre, explained how there is a lack of awareness around the importance of early detection.
“A simple blood test, a PSA blood test that takes half a teaspoon of blood out of your arm, can help with the early detection of prostate cancer,” said Rabb, “People don't understand everything there is to know about cancer, but it's important that people know it's the leading cause of cancer in men... It’s really treatable when it's caught early.”
This is a valuable opportunity to educate men and their families with the PSA blood test, which identifies the levels of a protein released from the prostate explained Rabb. If anyone is unable to make it on the day the unit is in Blairmore, they still have options.
“If men can't make it to the MAN VAN when we're in Blairmore, they can always ask their doctor and make sure when they're in there for their annual checkup say, ‘I want to make sure I get a PSA blood test when I go for my blood work’,” said Rabb.
Rabb said it can be difficult for men to go to the doctor unless something is “broken or bleeding” but with prostate cancer, there is no sign anything is wrong until too late.
“There are no symptoms, so we need things like the MAN VAN reminding us we're not invincible and these things that you might not be able to feel or know about could be happening,” said Rabb.
Rabb has seen this program work when someone thought they were healthy went to get a PSA test on the MAN VAN and found out they have prostate cancer. Because it was caught early and treated, they were able to live a normal life.
"When the cancer is less aggressive there's a lot of different treatment options available,” said Rabb.
The Prostate Cancer Centre is excited about coming to the Crowsnest Pass for the first time, an effort in conjunction Family and Community Support Services. With the potential for many of the men coming to the van being there for the first time, Rabb wanted to share some information about what a visit is like.
An Alberta health card is not required as they are independently run. Visits should last about 15 minutes, depending on if there is a lineup.
“The blood test will be e-mailed or texted to people. They get their results directly sent to them. If there was an elevated result, we will work with them and their doctor for a follow up,” added Rabb.
There is no appointment necessary to visit the MAN VAN.
Visit prostatecancercentre.ca/manvan for more information on the mobile men’s health clinic.