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Pastor leads effort for early cancer detection

Saint James Church is trying to get the community involved in educating men about prostate cancer.

National Prostate Cancer Awareness month is typically held in September, but Patricia Dow with the church said they were inspired after a testimony by their pastor, Larry Jointer.

“It was spearheaded by the pastor because he was diagnosed,” Dow said. “It was early detection. He’s always encouraged men to go and get themselves [checked]. But when it really hits home, you really want to do something about it. That’s how it all got started.

“He’s fine now, thank God. He’s back at work. Everything is going fine, and we’re all just so very happy.”

Thankfully, Jointer survived, but others aren’t so fortunate.

“The American Cancer Society states that other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men,” the church said in a statement. “ACS estimates that 220,800 new cases are diagnosed yearly. Moreover, 27,540 deaths from the disease occur.”

While prostate cancer can exist for months or years without symptoms, screening for early detection is available for men. But many men are reluctant to get the screening done. Medical professionals will speak out at the event Saturday about importance of early detection, an educate attendees about diagnosis, treatment and financial support.

The church is also planning to have on-site testing for blood pressure, sugar levels, heart and pulse rates and oxygen-saturation levels. The church said results will be immediate, and counseling and referrals will be provided if an issue is found.

Dow said Saint James Church is planning on making it a yearly event and hopes other churches will get involved. She sent a flyer to 125 churches in the Lincoln County area.

“I sent a flyer to every one of those churches,” Dow said. “That’s how much we want men to get checked, and let them know that you can beat this thing. … It’s time to step out of emergency mode and practice preventative medicine.”

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.