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Golf benefit underscores importance of prostate exams

November 7, 2019 By    

A show of hands: How many of you can define or even explain the acronym “PSA”?

Pros4Care golf benefit photo of former NFL offensive lineman Flozell Adams and Ed Varney of RegO

Ed Varney of RegO Products, right, welcomes former NFL offensive lineman Flozell Adams to the Pros4Care golf benefit at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney, Texas. Photo by Brian Richesson

We’re not talking about a public service announcement necessarily, though knowledge about the topic we’re addressing here is extremely important for men.

Instead, we’re referring to “prostate-specific antigen,” a protein produced by the prostate. A PSA blood test is a common method of screening for prostate cancer. Rising PSA levels can signal a potential problem with the prostate.

Steve Eagar, a reporter and anchor for Fox 4 News in Dallas, opened the 12th annual Pros4Care golf benefit, a propane industry-based event that promotes prostate cancer awareness, with this question for attendees. He says only 54 percent of men actually know about PSA, but he says more should.

Eagar can tell you first-hand why it’s important. He had prostate cancer.

“I am a slow learner, so it took me a while to embrace that I actually had cancer and how serious it was,” he says.

There were no physical signs telling him something was wrong. There was no family history of prostate cancer. The only warning for Eagar came from the PSA test results and his rising numbers.

“If my PSA hadn’t popped and set off bells, I wouldn’t have known I had this,” he says.

Getting checked

The Prostate Cancer Foundation says men 50 years and older should undergo prostate exams regularly – and earlier if one’s family history includes prostate cancer. PSA can be measured through a blood test that doctors order for routine bloodwork.

As Eagar spoke to golfers from the propane industry and to other event backers, he was two months removed from prostate cancer surgery, in which his prostate was completely removed. Doctors caught the disease in time.

“Prostate cancer is highly curable when you have it inside your prostate,” Eagar says. “If it’s out, it cannot be cured. They chase that cancer throughout your body for the rest of your life.”

Eagar recognizes October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which receives a lot of attention in the media, but he doesn’t want the prevalence of prostate cancer to go unnoticed. One in nine men will face prostate cancer in their lifetime, he says, proving that events like the Pros4Care golf benefit are integral to defeating the disease.

“Just like mammograms are important for women, PSA tests are important for men,” he says. “Get it done. Get it taken care of. It is painless. It’s just a blood test.”

Local celebrities

This year’s event drew about 100 attendees, according to organizers. In addition to Eagar, the golf benefit brought out another local celebrity: former NFL offensive lineman Flozell Adams, who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. Adams established his own foundation for breast cancer awareness because his mom died of it 22 years ago, but he also recognizes the importance of PSA checkups for men.

“I’m proud to be here to help men with prostate problems,” says Adams, referring to the tests. “We all have to do it. … We have to get this [done] to be able to beat it and take care of it. … Do everything you need to do to have a long, full life.”

Pros4Care was founded in 2006 by propane industry members Pat Hyland, former LP Gas editor and now of the Propane Education & Research Council; former Heritage Propane President Bill Powers; and Ed Varney of RegO Products.

In addition to raising awareness of prostate cancer, Pros4Care educates patients with vital information and provides financial support when needed.

“I am now a person you’re playing for,” Eagar told the golfers in Texas. “We can make a difference by spreading the word.”

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About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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