Prostate Cancer Awareness week starts on Monday

When John Forgay was screened for prostate cancer in 1997, the results showed he was at a high risk for the disease.

For the next year, Forgay, a lieutenant with the Craig Police Department, didn't get a secondary screening or worry much about his results.

"Like some men, I kind of ignored it," Forgay said. "Part of it was hardheaded stubbornness that, truthfully, a lot of men have over these kinds of issues."

In 1998, Forgay was screened again at a 9 Health Fair. The results from his prostate specific antigen blood test were even worse than the previous year.

"This time, I didn't ignore it," Forgay said.

He went to a hospital in Laramie, Wyo., to have a biopsy that showed he had prostate cancer.

He underwent radiation treatment and is cancer-free, but he gets screened for prostate cancer every six months.

"Luckily, it worked out for me," Forgay said.

But the 30,000 American men who die from prostate cancer every year aren't so lucky.

Monday is Prostate Cancer Awareness Day, part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.

The Prostate Cancer Edu--cation Council puts the awareness week on every year.

The awareness week started 17 years ago to show people that the disease is treatable and easy to catch.

"There were so many men needlessly dying from prostate cancer," said Wendy Poage, executive director of the PCEC.

The awareness week has helped millions of men across the country get low-cost prostate cancer screenings.

All of the Colorado screenings this year are along the Front Range, but Poage said all men older than 40 should be screened every year.

The blood screening takes about 10 minutes and is relatively painless, Forgay said.

He said follow-up tests can be uncomfortable, but they're well worth it.

"It is certainly not something that someone can not tolerate," Forgay said.

He highly recommends all men get screened regularly.

"I can't stress enough how important it is," Forgay said.

For more on Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, visit www.pcaw.com.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.