Eddie Check brings PSA tests to East Tennessee

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Erven Williams spent his career at TVA as a systems engineer in in dam safety and water management. If he hadn’t committed to early screening for prostate cancer, he might not be enjoying retirement now.

Williams, who is black, lost both his father and grandfather to prostate cancer. He says, “It is so important that males do get a PSA checkup because the earlier you catch it, the better your chances are of being cured. And for African-Americans it’s even more important. It affects us more; it’s more aggressive.”

For 12 years now, Eddie Check has been giving men in East Tennessee the opportunity to take control of their prostate health … for free. 

Eddie Check, sponsored by Provision, will be held at eight locations on Thursday and eight on Friday (12 different locations) in 10 East Tennessee counties including Knox, Cumberland, Blount, Anderson, Cocke, McMinn, Roane, Scott, Hamblen and Loudon. Blood samples for PSA screening will be taken at every location during all hours, even if you don’t donate blood. This free PSA screening is available for men 40 years of age or older, or in the event of family history at an age 10 years younger than the affected relative’s age at his cancer onset.

One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime – and one in 39 will die from it. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer in American men and second only to lung cancer as the leading cancer-based cause of death in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the U.S. during 2016, about 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and 26,120 men will die from it.

Williams also considers himself an “ambassador” for Provision Proton Therapy.

`Now 71, Williams’ story began seven years ago when he underwent Prostate-Specific Antigen screening and learned that his PSA count was 4.0 nanograms per milliliter of blood ̶ a result at the high end of the acceptable range, most likely a sign of prostate cancer. After he’d seen a specialist, surgery was recommended, but Williams wanted a second opinion. He went to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. The doctors there recommended radiation therapy rather than surgery. Williams considered his options.

Back in Tennessee, a church friend mentioned a new kind of treatment called Proton Therapy, offered at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. Unlike other standard cancer treatments, it was said to have no side effects.

“I went down for eight weeks to receive treatment,” says Williams. “My PSA is now 0.2.” He receives regular PSA screenings once a year, and the number holds.

Speaking of the therapy, Williams says, “It goes to the cancer itself; it doesn’t harm the tissues around it. It only attacks the cancer, not the body; there are no side effects.” He’s pleased that the treatment is now offered closer to home, at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy. “If there had been one here at the time, I would’ve gone there,” he says.

Because of Proton Therapy he’s free now to carry on with his activities: cooking for Volunteer Ministry Center, leading once-a-month tours at the Norris Dam Visitors’ Center, doing three months of contract work for FEMA per year, and enjoying life with his wife, Elnora, a retired principal in the Knox County school system. He’d encourage anyone to check out Provision Proton Therapy Center. “They have a great program.”

Below are the dates, times and locations for this year’s Eddie Check. Free cholesterol screenings and refreshments as well as special Tennessee vs. Florida “Tail” Gate T-shirts will be provided by MEDIC for all blood donors at all sites. For those men donating blood, a sample for the PSA screening can be taken during donation; however, no blood donation is necessary for the free PSA test alone—only a simple blood sample is needed. MEDIC will draw all samples, which will then be analyzed by an independent laboratory funded by the Provision CARES Foundation.

Thursday, September 15 

  • MEDIC Headquarters, 1601 Ailor Ave., Knoxville, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
    Phil Williams News/Talk 98.7 FM remote, 6:00-10:00 a.m.
    Sports Talk Radio WNML Remote 3:00-7:00 p.m.
  • MEDIC Donor Center-Farragut, 11000 Kingston Pike (behind Pittsburgh Paints), 7:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • MEDIC Crossville, 79 South Main St. (across from the Palace Theater), 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. CDT
  • Provision Center for Proton Therapy, 6450 Provision Cares Way, Knoxville (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    Gunner WIVK FM remote, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    Hallerin Hill News/Talk 98.7 FM remote, 3:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Walmart-Oneida, 19740 Alberta St., Oneida (Bloodmobile), 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Books-A-Million/Oak Ridge, 310 S. Illinois Ave. (Bloodmobile), 11:00 a.m.-700 p.m.
  • Walmart-Morristown, 475 S. Davy Crockett Pkwy. (Bloodmobile), 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Walmart-Lenior City, 911 Hwy. 321 North (Bloodmobile), 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Friday, September 16

  • MEDIC Headquarters, 1601 Ailor Ave., Knoxville, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
  • MEDIC Donor Center-Farragut, 11000 Kingston Pike (behind Pittsburgh Paints), 6:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • MEDIC Crossville, 79 South Main St. (across from the Palace Theater), 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. CDT
  • Provision Center for Proton Therapy, 6450 Provision Cares Way, Knoxville (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    Phil Williams News/Talk 98.7 FM remote, 6:00-10:00 a.m.
  • New Midland Plaza/Alcoa, 232 S. Calderwood St. (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    Gunner WIVK FM remote, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Walmart-Newport, 1075 Cosby Hwy. (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Lowe’s/Athens, 1751 South Congress Pkwy. (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Lowe’s/Harriman, 1800 Roane State Hwy. (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.