CAY HILL, Sint Maarten — On Saturday September 25th, SMMC, the Positive Foundation and the Elektralytes Foundation hosted their annual Prostate Cancer Screening featuring a health check corner and a COVID-19 vaccination pop-up by CPS.
The event, which saw a total of 64 men over the age of 45 being screened for prostate cancer, was a collaborative effort between SMMC, the Positive and Elektralytes Foundation and CPS. The event was supported by FLOW who offered free top-ups for persons receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations and Prime Distributors who provided refreshments for volunteers and attendees.
Student Doctors of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, led by AUC Professor and SMMC ER Physician Dr. Kalkidan Bekele, provided free blood glucose and blood pressure monitoring to all attendees and observed SMMC’s Urologist Dr. Diego Ramos and Dr. Carlos Rojas during the screenings.
For the first time in the event’s history, men interested in the screening were required to preregister via email, allowing the Urologists to see approximately five (5) patients per hour, an ambitious number. Due to a number of no-shows, the Urologists were also able to facilitate a small number of walk-ins. This year, a large number of men under the age of 45 also attended the event. While they weren’t able to be screened for prostate cancer because they didn’t meet the age requirement, they did take advantage of the blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring.
“1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer but early detection saves lives. Men’s health is not typically a topic of conversation in the Caribbean and with the introduction of Urology as a specialty at our hospital and through the hard work of the teams at the Positive Foundation and the Elektralytes Foundation, we’ve been seeing a shift in men’s attitudes towards their health for the better”, said Shari de Riggs, SMMC’s Communications Officer.
“We applaud the men who heeded the call to Man Up! and Check Up! We’d also like to thank our incredible partners who made the event a reality and a success; SMMC staff who volunteered their time, Honorable Minister of VSA and his cabinet, the Student Doctors from AUC, CPS, the VMT, the, Prime Distributors, FLOW, Belair Community Center and the Positive and Elektralytes Foundations” concluded de Riggs.
After the event, the Honorable Minister of VSA Omar Ottley said “I was extremely happy with the outcome of the collaboration and I look forward to working together in the near future. I would like to extend my appreciation to SMMC, CPS, the VMT, the Positive Foundation, the Elektralytes Foundation and all who assisted in making the Prostate screening and vaccination process a success”.
The Positive and Elektralyets Foundations are especially encouraged by the support of SMMC, AUC, CPS and all the participants and volunteers who have embraced the challenges related to the COVID 19 pandemic to find ways to provide in-person screenings.
“Many of us may have overlooked getting our annual physical because of the challenges associated with the pandemic, while some of us may have questioned “why should you see your doctor for an annual physical exam if you are feeling generally healthy?”. A good reason is that checking in with your primary care physician can confirm that you have no underlying health risks that need attention. An exam can lead to an early-stage diagnosis which means you could receive treatment sooner with better outcomes or simply have peace of mind” remarked Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes Van Der Waals-Wyatt, presidents of the Positive and Elektralyets Foundations.
Persons interested in making an appointment at SMMC’s Urology Department can do so by calling + 1 (721) 543-1111 or 910 extension 1379 from Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm.