Valdosta, GA – September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and South Georgia Medical Center is urging men to take responsibility for their prostate health. On Thursday, Sept. 18 from 6pm – 7:30pm at the Pearlman Cancer Center, SGMC will host its annual, free Prostate Cancer Screening. SGMC-affiliated Urologists, Dr. Mike Chiang, Dr. Jacek T. Sosnowski, Dr. J. David Sule, and SGMC staff will work together to provide the screening and possibly make early detections, which can save lives. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. Men of African-American descent are at a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white men. Among black men, 19 percent will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and five percent of those will die from this disease. To best reach its target audience, SGMC is following the American Cancer Society’s screening eligibility requirements. African American men must be over the age of 40 and all others must be over the age of 45. Men cannot have had a prostate screening in the past two years, received a Prostate Specific Antigen exam in the past year, have a personal history of prostate cancer, or have a urologist. Men with the following symptoms are not eligible for the free screening and highly encouraged to make an appointment with a urologist or physician: blood in urine, difficulty stopping/starting urination, pain or burning on urination or pain in the legs, pelvis or back. “Men who are informed about prostate cancer are more aware of the risks and treatments,” stated Courtney Orr, SGMC Community Health Promotions Coordinator. “It’s your life, no one can protect it better than you.” The specific causes of prostate cancer are unknown, but there are risk factors that have been identified. They include:• Age. The older a man is, the greater his risk for getting prostate cancer.• Family history. A man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease himself.• Race. Prostate cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others, but medical experts do not know why. Prostate cancer is more common among African American men than among white men. It is less common among Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American men.To register, call 229.433.1074.