Calgary

Unique new clinic a 'point of entry' to health care for Calgary men, doctor says

Calgary's Prostate Cancer Centre is calling its new health clinic for men a milestone for the city's medical community and the first of its kind in Canada.

1 in 7 Alberta men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime

Radiologist Dr. Shelley Spaner, who helped spearhead the new Men's Health Clinic, says it will be a dedicated point of entry for men into the health-care system. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Calgary's Prostate Cancer Centre is calling its new health clinic for men a milestone for the city's medical community and the first of its kind in Canada.

The new Men's Health Clinic inside the Southern Alberta Institute of Urology at the Rockyview General Hospital opened its doors on Wednesday.

Radiologist and Prostate Cancer Centre board member Dr. Shelley Spaner was one of the key people behind the project.

"What this does is give us a true physical space to run our programs from, to do our research from and ultimately to give men a point of entry into the health-care system," she said.

The clinic will offer education and referral help as well as services ranging from prostate cancer testing to general and mental health services.

It's also connected with the Man Van, a mobile health clinic that provides PSA testing around Calgary.

Spaner said it was partly the number of men accessing the Man Van who said they didn't have or had not seen their family doctor that got her thinking about the need for better ways to reach men.

"I personally saw in my own practice of radiology that men with chronic disease and men with advanced prostate cancer could have increased survival rates if they had accessed the medical system sooner," she said in a release.

Early detection key

Artist Doug Driediger, a prostate cancer survivor, says his cancer was caught early thanks to a PSA test.

He believes the new clinic will help other men take charge of their health.

"I'm here because my wife was proactive and encouraged me to be more proactive with my health, which is not a thing I think a lot of guys are good at," he said.

"A centre like this sort of beats down those barriers and makes it a welcome and friendly space for people like myself to come in and investigate and to learn more about how to take better care of themselves."

Health officials say one in seven Alberta men will face a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. There's a 95 per cent survival rate if it's detected and treated early.

The new clinic was made possible with support from the Spaner Family Initiative, the Bill Brooks Benefit and an anonymous donor.

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