BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In an eye-opening statistic, the CDC says Louisiana leads the nation in the number of men, per 100,000, diagnosed with prostate cancer. Free screenings are available this month. They are vital for men at risk.
Inside Webb's Barbershop, you'll hear the buzz of clippers, the chuckle of barbers or the latest news and sports from the TV. What you won't hear usually, is mention of prostate cancer.
"Men are a lot more squeamish about talking about prostate cancer and what we think is that there's not a venue where they can openly and comfortably talk about it," said prostate cancer survivor John Smith.
However, the team at Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center believes the barbershop setting is the perfect spot to get the conversation going.
"In a barbershop, a place where you go once or twice a month, you're very familiar with your barber. You trust them; it's easier for them to convey a message to you and because of that trust, you will take that message they say to heart," said Johnnay Benjamin, director of early detection and education for the Center.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and the incident and death rates are higher among African Americans versus Caucasians.
That's why the cancer center has teamed up with barbershops around Baton Rouge, as well as 100 Black Men, to help spread awareness and education. Webb's will host the cancer center's mobile medical unit this Saturday, providing free prostate and PSA screenings.
The goal is to get men from the barber chair to the exam table to get the screenings, which can be the difference between being a prostate cancer survivor and victim.
"We know that early detection saves lives, so we really want to encourage men to first be educated about prostate cancer and then determine if screening is right for them," said Benjamin.
"Let's be men, let's be in control. We like to be in control. So, by coming to these screenings you become in control," said Smith, who is also the vice president of programming for 100 Black Men.
Free screenings throughout September will be at the following locations:
Saturday, September 14: Webb's Barbershop, 414 Eddie Robinson Drive 9 a.m - 12 p.m.
Thursday, September 26: 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge Office, 2050 N. Foster Drive 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday, September 27: Albertsons, 402 South Range Road, Denham Springs, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.