Courtesy of Amanda Sowards, Montgomery Advertiser
-- Jackie R. Holliday, Alabama Department of Public Health Administrator
The Urology Health Foundation, formerly known as the Urology Centers of Alabama Educational Foundation, was established in 2003 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the purpose of educating physicians and other medical professionals in new techniques and procedures being used in the field of urology.
In 2006 our organization was renamed the Urology Health Foundation, and its purposes were expanded to include the provision of general patient education and screening for urological diseases free of charge.
When we started our screening program, the need in Alabama was great. The death rate from prostate cancer was unacceptably high, especially among African-American males.
To be sure, individuals who live in underserved areas of the State face many impediments when it comes to being screened and treated for cancer—economic hardships, reduced access to medical care, and fewer, if any, specialists. To help overcome these barriers, we seek to "bring the doctor to the patient" and to offer our prostate cancer screenings for free. If an abnormality is found and the patient is unable to afford treatment, we will assist in helping to find treatment at no cost to the patient.
Since 2007, I am pleased to report that we have provided over 13,000 visits for prostate cancer screening in 21 different Alabama counties. We continue to provide about 1,500 screening visits per year.
The death rate from prostate cancer in Alabama has gone down reflecting a national trend. Ten years ago, there was a large disparity in early stage at diagnosis in white men compared to their African-American counterparts in Alabama. That disparity has now closed and the races are equal. We believe our screening program is, at least in part, responsible for this positive outcome for the men of our State.
In 2012 the U.S Preventive Services Task Force recommended against prostate cancer screening for any man. This decision was based on very flawed data and was made by a committee that did not have even one physician that treats cancer. During the PSA era--when there has been an emphasis on early detection--there has been a 45% reduction in disease-specific mortality from prostate cancer. We continue to be advocates of prostate cancer screening and do not want to lose the significant gains that have been made in the fight against this disease.
All told, this has truly been a collaborative effort. In addition to the urological resources that we at the Foundation provide, the Alabama Department of Public Health has played a key role in actively promoting the program in many of the counties where we have screened. We have also benefited greatly by the various efforts of the local media, churches, Extension offices, and Chambers of Commerce to get the word out about the importance of early detection.
As we plan toward the future, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Urology Health Foundation so that we can continue our screenings and even expand our outreach to other areas of the State.
Thank you for visiting our website.
Dr. Moody makes an advance trip to Monroeville, Alabama to meet with officials about an upcoming free prostate cancer screening in that area.
Urology Health Foundation
Thomas E. Moody, M.D.