Every year, Tim McClelland takes part in a fundraiser his wife, Sue, helps organize for the local Rotary in Smethport. The Rotary Club works with UPMC Cole in Coudersport, about 30 miles east of Smethport, to host comprehensive blood analysis tests for the community.
“I worry about my cholesterol, but my wife and I are healthy and take good care of ourselves,” says Tim. UPMC Cole conducts comprehensive blood analysis screenings five times a year in the local region, including Smethport.
The low-cost screening includes more than 30 commonly requested blood tests. You can also choose to get additional tests, including a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Sue explains what happened in 2013 after the screening.
“We got the results back and skimmed right through them to look at the cholesterol numbers. Then we noticed Tim’s PSA number was elevated, so we talked to his primary care doctor about it, and they recommended further testing.”
Because Tim gets the blood screening every year, they could look back and see the jump in PSA levels from 2012 to 2013. Many cancer screening tests, including the PSA test, can help identify cancer early on, when treatment is most effective — but screening tests aren’t perfect.
“I know getting an annual PSA test isn’t recommended by every doctor, but it saved my life,” says Tim. After receiving the results of the PSA test, Tim followed up with his primary care doctor and they began further testing. “When we found out it was cancer — we were shocked,” says Sue. “Everyone kept saying, he is too young to have prostate cancer and even if they find something, it is slow growing — he’ll be fine.” Tim says, “After further testing, they found I had a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. The doctors told me if I had waited until I had symptoms, it would have been too late.”
Tim was 52 at the time of the screening and turned 53 just days after the surgery that saved his life. Tim recently had his five-year follow-up for cancer, and he remains cancer-free. Tim can’t help but give advice to those he loves. “UPMC Cole does these blood tests throughout the region — go and get it. It is inexpensive and it could save your life — it did mine.”
COMPREHENSIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS SCREENINGS
In cooperation with community-based organizations such as rotaries and libraries, UPMC Cole provides five comprehensive blood analysis (CBA) screenings annually in five rural communities: Galeton, Smethport, Port Alleghany, Shinglehouse, and Coudersport. In addition, UPMC Wellsboro offers a yearly Community Multidiagnostic Blood Analysis (CMBA), while UPMC in the Susquehanna region offers monthly CBA screenings at seven different locations. CBAs screen for many of the most common blood tests that detect a wide range of serious health issues, and are provided at a minimal cost. All participants and their primary care doctors are sent the results and then follow up with individuals whose screening results indicate abnormalities.
For more information on the blood screenings offered by UPMC Cole, call 814-274-5550. For more information on the CMBA available at UPMC Wellsboro, call 570-723-8449.