On Saturday, Nov. 12, three of New Mexico’s most experienced physicians involved in treating the ever-changing landscape of prostate cancer will speak at the 11th Annual Prostate Cancer Support Association of New Mexico (PCSANM) conference.
The event, which is free, will be the first held in-person since 2019 and will be held from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 114 Carlisle Blvd. SE. Anyone interested may attend in-person or remotely via Zoom.
“The organization has been active for more than 30 years and at some point, back before I was involved, the decision was made to start having these conferences,” said Rod Geer, PCSANM chairperson. “The goal of the organization is a pretty simple one, the group exists to provide men and their families in New Mexico with the most current information about prostate cancer detection and treatment and to provide emotional support, following diagnosis and during treatment.”
Dr. Damara Kaplan, a urologist with the New Mexico Cancer Center, will begin the conference with a discussion on diagnosis and staging and the first steps along prostate cancer’s treatment path.
“Kaplan is going to talk about what the man who suspiciously may have prostate cancer or have just learned that they have been diagnosed with it,” Geer said. “The first kind of discussion you would have for instance is getting a biopsy.”
Then, Dr. Thomas Schroeder, a radiation oncologist with the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, will emphasize local treatment of the cancer contained within the prostate gland.
“The second presentation is for a person who has already been diagnosed and wanting to learn about prostate cancer they have, and the various treatments,” Geer said.
Dr. Jose Avitia, a medical oncologist with New Mexico Cancer Center, will discuss cancer that has spread throughout the body and disease that reoccurs after initial treatment.
“The third presentation is the person who would get treated at some point whether that be one or two years later or 10 years later,” Geer said.
As a male, it is never too early to get tested.
“When you reach the middle 40s start talking with your doctor about doing an annual physical for instance,” Geer said. “… having a PSA test, could be crucial to your long-term health.”
It is extremely critical that men get tested before it is too late.
“A very important thing is for men to get educated about their prostate, but also recognize the value of early screening and testing,” Geer said. “That’s actually true for just about any cancer, and what we believe very firmly is that most men should be screened as early as possible.”
Additional details about the conference, including how to join via Zoom, are available at pcsanm.org.
PCSANM also has a support group and the office is located at 2533 Virginia St. NE, Suite C, with office hours from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
“We meet the first and third Saturdays of the month at Bear Canyon Senior Center and do a variety of things in those meetings,” Geer said. “Sometimes we have what we call a sharing session, and that quickly helps the new person realize that what they are talking about is something that just about everybody in the room may have experienced as well.
Call 505-254-7786 for more information.