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Musial next up on series aimed at prostate cancer

by Ella Johnson

It seems most men don't like to talk about their health. When men get sick they often downplay or simply ignore the symptoms, hoping they will go away. If problems persist, they may delay going to the doctor for weeks or even months. The reluctance to talk about their health can have deadly consequences, particularly for men who fail to have a prostate screening. Prostate cancer will kill nearly 40,000 men this year. A quick prostate exam and a PSA blood test may have been able to detect the cancer in the early stages when the disease is most treatable, possibly saving thousands of lives.

“I don't know what it is about these men. The majority of them are too macho, too proud," said Peggy Brimm of Newburgh. Her husband, William, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year during a free prostate screening program offered at Alcoa by Evansville Cancer Center. It was William Brimm's first-ever prostate exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. His PSA level was 91, which is 22 times higher than the level that is considered normal.

Since the diagnosis Brimm's health has been declining. He retired from Alcoa earlier this year at age 65 and now spends most of his time in bed. Peggy Brimm said he was not well enough to talk to a reporter, but she offered advice for the wives of stubborn men, like her husband, who refuse to take care of their health.

“Push them, push them, push them no matter what," she said. If that doesn't work "get their ministers or their mommas to talk to them. It's not just them fighting the battle. The wives go through it, too."

Peggy Brimm tried for years to get her husband to see a doctor when he started having problems. When he finally did, the doctor diagnosed his condition as an urinary infection and prescribed antibiotics. A PSA test was not included in the exam.

The Evansville Cancer Center has taken a new approach to getting men and their wives to talk about prostate cancer. Through a partnership with local urologists, the center has invited well-known celebrities to Evansville, including former Sen. Bob Dole and baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, to share personal stories about their careers and their experiences with prostate cancer. The presentations always end with a message to get tested.

This year, the cancer center and urologists will present the "Home Run Series for Men's Health with Stan 'The Man' Musial" with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Musial will arrive in Evansville on Aug. 27 in time to throw out the first pitch of the Evansville Otters' final home game of the season against the Richmond Roosters at Bosse Field.

The prostate awareness program will be Aug. 28 at the Evansville Marriott. A YIP welcoming luncheon will start at 11:30 a.m., followed by a presentation by Musial at 1 p.m. The cost is $10 for the program, or $100 for a sponsorship that includes a ticket to the Otters' game, the YIP luncheon and the program.

The program will feature a panel discussion with Musial and local physicians. It will wrap up with an autograph session with Musial. Autographs will be limited to one per person for a $10 fee. Bats and jerseys will not be signed.

All of the proceeds from the event will go to Cancer Care Options Inc., a nonprofit program started in 1996 by Dr. Al Korba, the cancer center's medical director. The program provides free emergency pain-relief medications to cancer patients in the Tri-State, regardless of where they receive treatment.

For more information about Cancer Care Options, call 474-1110. Tickets for the "Home Run Series for Men’s Health" are on sale at the American Cancer Society, 1510 w: Franklin St., and at the Evansville Cancer Center, 700 N. Burkhardt Road, or by calling 473-8797.

Companies interested in hosting a free prostate screening should call the cancer center and ask for Robin Lawrence- Broesch.

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