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By Caroline Brown
Special to The Pagosa Springs SUN Online
We welcome the vernal equinox today, the first day of spring, which means, among other things, that the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair is just a few weeks away on Saturday, April 5, from 7 a.m. to noon at the high school.
Colorado 9Health Fairs offer their communities low-cost and free health screenings in addition to educational materials to help people own their health by being proactive. The screening results provided by the Pagosa 9Health Fair are not a diagnosis, but a medical tool to monitor or discover potential health problems and should be discussed with a medical provider.
One of the blood screenings offered at 9Health Fairs, but not always talked about in detail, is the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) screening for men only. With prostate cancer being the most common cancer in men, 9Health Fair recommends they discuss with their doctors the benefits of prostate cancer screening. The Pagosa 9Health Fair offers a PSA screening for $25, which is recommended for males 40 and over who have a family history of prostate cancer, or all males 50 to 75. This blood screening measures a protein that is only produced by the male prostate gland. A 12-hour fast is recommended. Participants should drink plenty of water during the fast and continue to take regular medications.
The $25 PSA screening and all of the other low-cost blood tests offered at the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair, which include $30 blood chemistry screening; $15 blood cell count screening; $40 vitamin D screening; and $25 hemoglobin A1c screening, provide an entry-point to health care. There are vouchers available to the public for the $30 blood chemistry screening and all you need to do is call 731-4248 for more information about the vouchers.
For the first time, the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair is offering online preregistration for the low-cost blood work and colorectal kits. Since only cash or checks are accepted the day of the fair, April 5, participants may pre-register online with their credit card if they choose. Just go to 9healthfair.org/findafair. Participants should complete their online preregistration at least 48 hours prior to April 5. If you do not preregister online, you can still register the day of the fair with cash or check.
There will be more information regarding blood screenings and other health screenings, as well as educational material that will be at the 2014 Pagosa 9Health Fair, in future issues of The SUN. For more 9Health Fair information, please call 731-4248.