How to get screened at MetroHealth Minority Men's Health Fair
The Minority Men’s Health Fair is back Thursday April 27, offering 30 health screenings and education for men.
The annual event was started to combat health disparities among African American men, who studies show are more likely to have undiagnosed chronic conditions and delay seeking medical care.
This year’s fair will offer screenings for prostate cancer, diabetes, kidney, heart disease and vascular disease, high blood pressure, skin cancer, mental health concerns, lung and colorectal cancer, hepatitis, vitamin D deficiency and stroke, according to MetroHealth.
The screenings will be offered at three MetroHealth locations, including those in Clark Fulton, Ohio City and Cleveland Heights.
Two of the three leading causes of death for Black men in the U.S. are heart disease and cancer, while Black men also have the highest mortality rate for all cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Early detection can reduce the chances that those cancers will spread, which is why screenings are so important, said Dr. Charles Modlin, the fair’s founder.
He said it would usually take a year to get all these screenings done by specialists. But with this event, they do them all within 30 and a half hours.
“The fact that Black men develop and die from prostate cancer twice as often as ... white men doesn't have to happen,” said Modlin. “One reason why there's a higher mortality death rate … is, in general, it is often diagnosed at later stages because of later presentation to the physician.”
He said some Black men put off doctor’s appointments because they distrust the medical establishment. Modlin said trust was badly damaged during the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment where researchers studied the effects of untreated syphilis on hundreds of Black men without their consent.
“That led to a lot of distrust between the Black community and not only medical researchers, but physicians, in general, and hospitals and medical systems,” he said. “So a lot of that distrust still is with us today.”
Modlin said about 1,000 people went to last year’s fair, including skeptics like Cleveland resident Waverly Willis.
“Men for the most part, we don't go to the doctor unless something is falling off,” Willis said. “We all know someone that died from heart attack, stroke, diabetes, things of that nature. But we're so quick to say that won't happen to me.”
He said his decision to get screened changed his life.
“I took the test, and I found out that I had kidney cancer,” said Willis. “I had a large mass in my right kidney and resulting in me having to give my right kidney removed. Now, mind you, I go to the doctor on a regular basis. I always have, and I had no symptoms whatsoever.”
Doctors told Willis the cancer would have spread had they not identified it early and surgically removed it.
The health fairs are free and open to the public. There will be drinks and haircuts, in addition to education and screenings. The events simultaneously run from 5-8:30 pm on Thursday, April 27.
The register call 216-957-3862 or visit the MetroHealth website.