When his wife suggested he should take advantage of a free prostate cancer screening last September, Rupert Bradshaw objected that he had no symptoms.
"Do it anyway," she urged.
That advice saved his life, he said. "If I hadn't gone in, I would be walking around with a time bomb inside me right now," said Mr. Bradshaw, a 67-year-old retired insurance broker from Catonsville.
The exam, provided by Greater Baltimore Medical Center, led to the discovery of a tumor. Mr. Bradshaw had surgery Feb. 11. He said he is now free of the disease and very much relieved.
"Everybody that I've heard of who had prostate cancer in later stages, it was just a matter of how long you had to live," he said.
Mr. Bradshaw appeared at a news conference today at GBMC in Towson, as part of the hospital's second cancer prevention, education and detection campaign.
Last year, 663 men over age 50 came to GBMC for free prostate screenings, which found 15 prostate cancers -- including Mr. Bradshaw's -- and one bladder cancer.
GBMC officials said this year's expanded effort will include free prostate exams through March 26 and again in September. In addition, they are offering 100 free mammograms to uninsured women on Mother's Day, low-cost mammograms, a series of low-cost quit-smoking classes and other programs.
"What GBMC is doing here is something we'd like to see all hospitals in the state adopt," said Rich Stringer, executive director of the state Council on Cancer Control. Free or reduced-cost screenings and education programs, he said, "are of critical importance if we're going to have an impact on the cancer rate" in Maryland.
Dr. Robert Brookland, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, said Maryland is expected to have the highest cancer death rate in the United States this year. Led by malignancies of the lungs, colon and rectum, breast, prostate and pancreas, cancer is expected to kill 9,900 people here, the society estimated.
The hospital's goal is to screen about 10,000 people over the next year in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Harford County and Carroll County.
GBMC's effort will include a free risk assessment questionnaire. For information, call 828-4262.