Rickey Jackson knows what it takes to be a man. But it’s more than dominating a football field, winning a Super Bowl or earning his way into the NFL Hall of Fame. Jackson knows being a man means taking care of yourself so you can take care of the people in your life.
That’s why he – along with several other New Orleans Saints legends – is again partnering with Tulane Health System to raise awareness of prostate cancer and provide free PSA screenings to any eligible men. The third annual “Man Up! – Geaux Get Screened” prostate screening event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Tulane Medical Center’s main lobby from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
In addition to the free screening – a quick blood draw that can help determine one’s risk of prostate cancer – participants will have the opportunity to meet and have pictures taken with former NFL players (including Saints greats like Jackson quarterback Bobby Hebert) and hear Jackson’s personal testimony about his prostate cancer diagnosis and recovery.
“We want to kick off the NFL season by doing something that can have a real, positive impact on our community,” said Jackson, who noted the event will take place the weekend before the New Orleans Saints play their first game of the season the following day. “The guys I played with know what I faced with my cancer diagnosis, and they were more than willing to help raise awareness and get men to a screening.”
The event will also feature games and prizes for kids, as well as other health information provided by Tulane experts. A free photo booth offers photo opportunities with former players, and attendees can test their strength and endurance against the players in fun events. A da Vinci robotic surgery system demonstration offers attendees the chance to test their surgical skills. And everyone who receives a PSA screening will be eligible to win memorabilia signed by Rickey and other former Saints.
“We are excited we can offer men this quick and relatively painless blood test called a PSA to screen for prostate cancer,” said Dr. Raju Thomas, a urologist with Tulane Health System. “PSA screening is used to pinpoint patients that may be harboring cancer or other conditions such as an enlarged prostate.
“We were able to screen more than 100 men at least year’s event, and we hope to see even more this time.”
This year, the American Cancer Society lowered its recommended age from 50 to 45 for men with no family history of prostate cancer to begin PSA screening. Men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer should begin screening at age 40.
“I want people to know about this silent killer,” Jackson said. “My uncle died from prostate cancer so I know it can take you out. I thought I was perfectly healthy when I found out I had prostate cancer.
“I didn’t play around. I got aggressive, and now I’m cancer free!”
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. However, when found early and treated, prostate cancer has a 98 percent 10-year survival rate.
Men and families of all ages are invited to attend the event, but screening space is limited. PSA-eligible men participating in the screening can register at TulaneHealthcare.com.