PUBLISHED: 4:35 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Poker run/walk set for Sept. 3 to raise prostate cancer awareness
SITKA - Men have a one in six chance of getting prostate cancer in their lifetime.

But men can significantly lower their risk for getting prostate cancer with regular screenings, a healthy diet and regular exercise.

WISEGUYS, a Sitka community men's health group, will be sponsoring the "It's All In The Cards" Family Oriented Prostate Cancer Awareness Poker Fun Run/Walk at 5 p.m. on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 3, at the Crescent Harbor covered area. Participants will complete a three-mile course through Sitka National Historical Park that features six checkpoints where the runners receive playing cards sealed in envelopes.

The people with the best (or worst) poker hands will win door prizes. Since nutrition can help men lower their risk for prostate cancer, grilled salmon and prostate-healthy side dishes will be served after the race.

A doctor and prostate cancer survivor also will talk about the importance of regular screenings.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in American men, and it is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death behind lung cancer.

There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer in its early stages, which makes regular screenings critical.

If caught early enough, before spreading to other parts of the body, nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer were still alive five years later (not including those who die from other causes).

If the prostate cancer had spread, only 34 percent of men were still alive in five years. Advanced-stage symptoms include difficult or frequent urination, blood in the urine or bone pain in the lower back or legs.

"September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and that's the perfect time for men to talk with their doctors about what screenings are needed," said SEARHC health educator Doug Osborne, who heads the WISEGUYS men's health group in Sitka.

Prostate cancer is rare for men younger than 40 years old, and most cases occur in men older than 65.

Men who have had a father or brother with prostate cancer, Veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars (where Agent Orange was used) and African-American men all have significantly higher risks of getting prostate cancer.

There are two main types of prostate cancer screening examinations - a blood test called the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test and a physical exam of the prostate called a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam).

The screenings usually don't show if a man has prostate cancer, only whether further testing is needed.

Annual screening should start at 50 years old for most men, but men with higher risk factors should start annual screening at 45 (one risk factor) or 40 (more than one). A single PSA test at an earlier age (35-40) can establish a baseline for future exams.

Men can use nutrition and exercise to lower their risk for prostate cancer by as much as 30 percent, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Certain foods seem to be particularly helpful in lowering the risk, such as lycopene from tomato sauce or watermelon, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, green tea and pomegranate juice. Tobacco use also raises the risk of prostate cancer.

For more information about this event, contact Charles Bingham at 966-8504 or For info on Sitka's WISEGUYS men's health group, call Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or