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Former NHL stars promoting men's health and prostate cancer screening and testing

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Lanny McDonald sports a championship ring he earned after winning the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989 and remains a fixture in the community. McDonald along with Wendel Clark and Guy Carbonneau are spreading the word about the importance of men getting checked for prostate cancer.

"It's so important, men are their own worst enemy, we're afraid to talk about men's health and this is a great opportunity," said McDonald. "Wendel Clark, Guy Carbonneau and myself, were asked if we would come on board and help bring awareness to the prostate cancer campaign and we're proud Canadians and want to help men just like ourselves."

The campaign is highlighting new testing methods such as Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and how they're available to detect cancer progression and spread across the body. McDonald says the campaign is geared towards all men, but especially those over 60.

"Most people are afraid to get tested and if you don't get tested, how do you know," he said. "As far as myself, I'm getting tested again next week and you know what, to all men, I challenge them do the same thing, because your loved ones need you to be around."

McDonald is getting a tour of the Prostate Cancer Centre's Man Van that is Canada's first mobile men's health clinic offering free prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood testing used for early detection of prostate cancer.

"It just takes a few moments to make the commitment," said McDonald. "Get tested and find out as much as possible because when you talk about prostate cancer and the biomarkers that go with it, the PSA test will tell you everything, so get checked."

BLOOD TESTING

Dr. Steven Yip is a medical oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the Authur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre and says blood testing is the easiest way to screen for prostate cancer.

"There are a lot of tests to be considered that could help us identify this earlier on," said Yip. "A PSA test and sometimes we think about another biomarker called PSMA or prostate specific membrane antigen that might help guide us when we have that diagnosis later on."

Dr. Yip notes symptoms can include bladder issues and difficulties with passing urine and in more advanced cases, pain, fatigue and sometimes weight loss. He says it's important for men to have an open conversation with their family doctor about men's health.

"Unfortunately (prostate cancer) is the leading cause of cancer for men in Canada, affecting more than 25,000 people per year but yet, we are making great strides identifying it earlier on," he said. "And we're improving outcomes and it's really important to think about these discussions because obviously, men sometimes don't think about it earlier on so it's important to not feel embarrassed and be willing to have these discussions with physicians."

Jeff Davison is the CEO of the Prostate Cancer Centre and says right now prostate cancer is affecting one in six Alberta men and a simple blood test could save your life.

"You know, we often as men we just don't tell our own healthcare story," he said. "So anytime you've got folks like Lanny McDonald, Bret Hart is a big fan of ours and Brett Wilson, those people in our community to some degree who are kind of the ultimate tough guys, if they can get out and get checked so can every man in our community."

Davison says the Man Van makes it easy for men to get checked and the service is free of charge.

"So ultimately, when you come to the Man Van it's all about a simple blood test," said Davison. "There's lots of misconceptions when it comes to prostate cancer but I assure you, it's a simple blood test, we try to provide it in a in a friendly way where our nurses are encouraging men to get in the van and take proactive measures on their health care."

Learn more about the Man Van here: https://www.prostatecancercentre.ca/the-man-van/

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