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  • Last modified 12 days ago (Oct. 31, 2018)

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One blood test can save a life, Marion man says

Staff writer

One day, one year ago, changed Roger Hannaford’s life – and no doubt extended it.

Hannaford went, for the first time, to the Marion County Health Fair — mainly for something to do. He checked out the booths and then decided to have his blood tested, just to see how healthy he was.

He was certain the test results would come out just fine, but when he went to see his physician a few weeks later for a sinus infection and showed his test results to his physician, she didn’t think the numbers looked fine.

“She said, ‘I don’t like that number,’” Hannaford recalled.

His prostate-specific antigen level was elevated. That can be a sign of prostate cancer, an infection, or an enlarged prostate.

His physician referred Hannaford to a urologist, who performed a biopsy that indicated cancer of the prostate.

After getting a second opinion, Hannaford went to see a cancer specialist.

The cancer specialist ordered three head-to-toe imaging scans performed.

There was a second surprise when the results came in. The scans revealed Hannaford had a spot on his lung. Another biopsy was done, and results were not good. Treatment for prostate cancer had to take a back seat. The spot on Hannaford’s lung was cancer.

“They scheduled to remove the upper left lobe in two weeks,” Hannaford recalled.

That surgery was done in June. His lung cancer, luckily, was caught early before it spread to other areas in his body.

Hannaford, who has never smoked, said his physician told him sometimes cancer is genetic.

Treatment for his prostate cancer will begin in December.

Hannaford said he’d thought he was healthy. He’d had no symptoms of any problems.

He encourages everyone to be proactive in taking care of themselves.

“When there’s something going on in your body, you don’t know,” Hannaford said. “Here’s my message to everyone — don’t put it off.”

Roger Schroeder, marketing director for St. Luke Hospital in Marion, said that while medical tests can be expensive, blood tests could be gotten very inexpensively at Saturday’s Marion County Health Fair. People with no insurance or who have a high deductible can obtain those blood tests at low cost.

At the health fair, 8 to 11 a.m. at Hillsboro Elementary School, an assortment of blood tests will be available.

St. Luke Hospital and HCH will offer an assortment of blood tests. For $25, visitors can get a comprehensive metabolic panel test to evaluate organ function and check for conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease; a lipid panel test to measure cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein; a complete blood test to measure the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelet levels, hemoglobin, and hematocrit; and a thyroid-stimulating hormone test to measure thyroid function.

Two additional tests will be offered for $10 each. HgbA1c tests measure the average level of glucose in the blood over the past two to three months, and prostate-specific antigen tests for men over 40 measures an antigen in the blood that can indicate cancer, a non-cancerous condition such as infection, or an enlarged prostate gland.

Last modified Oct. 31, 2018

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