Man Van brings prostate cancer awareness to rural southern Alberta

Southern Alberta Man Van™ Unveiled 

Statistics rarely lie. In 2013, eight men on average will die every week in Alberta from prostate cancer. The Alberta Cancer Foundation also predicts that one in seven Alberta men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Luckily men in southern Alberta now have a new tool that will help them keep their health in check.

On May 29th, a new Man Van™ was unveiled in High River. As part of the Prostate Cancer Centre’s (PCC) Combines for Cures™ initiative, the Man Van was built in Alberta from money raised through rural Albertan grain donations and key corporate sponsors. It will travel throughout the summer months, taking prostate cancer awareness and screening to men in rural southern Alberta communities.

An estimated eight men will die of prostate cancer each week in Alberta. Dr. Bryan Donnelly, urologist and Chair of Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre says, “If caught early, prostate cancer is treatable and curable. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test is one tool for detecting prostate cancer. The PSA test is not perfect but it is the best we’ve got. When I started in urology 36 years ago, 90 percent of the men I saw had advanced prostate cancer. Today, 90 percent have treatable cancer. The major difference is PSA blood testing.”

As the Man Van was funded in part by the grain donations, Al Gaja and the Team at Crop Production Services (CPS) in High River was awarded the Frank Murphy Memorial Trophy today, sponsored by Tony and Sharon Overwater, for raising the most grain pledges towards the initiative. Throughout 2012, farmers and ranchers have supported Combines for Cures by making a cash donation or a donation of grain to a CPS Retail Outlet. Our grain partners, Western Feedlots and Richardson Pioneer, then converted that contribution to cash.

Combines for Cures, funded by key corporate sponsors: Agrium Inc., Bayer CropScience Inc., W. Brett Wilson and his 50th Birthday Colleagues (The “Birthday Boys”), Monsanto Canada Inc., and Penn West Exploration, gives men who are busy running their farming and ranching operations, who may not have time for regular visits to the doctor, the opportunity to visit the Man Van at a local testing event for screening.

W. Brett Wilson noted, “We [The Birthday Boys] are huge advocates of the work done by the Prostate Cancer Centre and are delighted to see its programs extended into rural southern Alberta. Combines for Cures fills a gap in educating farmers, ranchers and rural based men (and the women who love them) about the importance of taking the simple blood test for the early detection of prostate cancer.”

Combines for Cures was established to get men to take a simple blood test for the early detection of prostate cancer at mobile PSA blood testing clinics. It is a rural initiative of the PCC, a one-of-a kind success story with a mandate to provide excellence in prostate cancer education, diagnosis, treatment, awareness and research.

Quick Facts:

  • Combines for Cures will use a mobile clinic called the Man Van™ that has tested 10,000 men in Calgary since its inception four years ago.
  • Although potentially life-threatening, prostate cancer is extremely curable or treatable if caught early.
  • Prostate cancer has no early symptoms. By the time symptoms occur – difficulty passing urine or pain in bones of lower back, hips or upper thighs, the disease may have spread beyond the prostate and may be incurable.
  • A PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test is a simple tool that helps doctors in the early detection of prostate cancer.
  • The Prostate Cancer Centre recommends that men establish a baseline PSA value at age 40.
  • Unless your resulting PSA score is of concern to your doctor, the PSA test needs only be repeated every 5 years until age 50. At 50 it is recommended that men have an annual PSA test.