By Steve Blanchard - March 22, 2019
For the fifth year in a row, David Lurie made sure not to miss the Annual Men’s Health Forum, presented by Moffitt Cancer Center and its community partners. The Brandon resident joined about 300 men who attended the event Saturday at the University of South Florida Marshall Student Center. The annual forum is a way for Tampa Bay area men to get screened for a variety of health issues, all at no charge.
“I’m getting older and older, so I think that staying on top of your health and being more proactive is super important,” Lurie said. “There aren’t a lot of events like this for men. This is incredibly thorough and allows you to check everything, from vision issues to cancer. Why not participate?”
Bucs alum and Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson and Bucs mascot Captain Fear were on hand. For the second year in a row, the forum also included colorectal cancer awareness and education geared toward men and women. That included having the Giant Inflatable Colon onsite.
Most men who attend the forum are underinsured or uninsured. Friends Norman Joive and Richard Haggard have attended together for the past three years.
“This is our annual checkup,” Haggard said. “We come here and make sure we are as healthy as we can be. Fortunately, we’ve both had good health reports. But you have to stay on top of things so that you catch any issues before they become untreatable. We make a day out of it every year.
However, getting men to discuss health issues can be a challenge.
“A lot of men don’t like to necessarily talk about symptoms that they might have,” said Nainesh Parikh, MD, MBA, a member of Moffitt’s Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology Department. “They might be in denial about whether or not they’re even exposed to cancer.”
Dr. Parikh hosted an informational session about prostate cancer, which educated men about the signs and symptoms. Dr. Julio Pow-Sang did the same, but for a Spanish-speaking audience.
For Tampa resident Robert Gonzalez, the Men’s Health Forum gives him a chance to pause his life and focus on his health for one entire morning. He encourages other men to do the same.
“Life gets so busy and you worry about your next appointment, family events or other things,” Gonzalez said. “Today is all about my health and about staying healthy so I can continue to do those things. I come every year and every other man should too!