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, 67, a 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.
Mr. Bradshaw attended a news conference yesterday at GBMC in Towson as part of its second annual 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. All have received, or are receiving treatment, hospital officials say.
When prostate cancer is discovered while it is still confined to the gland, physicians report an 85 percent survival rate after 10 years. When it is discovered after having spread to nearby bone, it is almost always fatal within 10 years.
GBMC officials said this year's campaign will include free prostate exams through March 26 and in September. In addition, the hospital is 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.
Rich Stringer, executive director of the state Council on Cancer Control, said other hospitals have similar outreach campaigns for cancer -- but none as extensive as GBMC's.
The hospital's goal is to screen about 10,000 people over the next year in Baltimore and Baltimore, Harford and Carroll counties.
GBMC's effort will include a free questionnaire patients can use to calculate their risk of cancer. For information, call 828-4262.