ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. - The "cruising" part of Cruisin' For A Cure was obvious all day Saturday. Custom and classic cars were cruising around the Orange County Fairgrounds. The "cure" refers to preventing and curing prostate cancer, which can affect men as they age.
"It's the most common cancer in men over 40, period," said Dr. Kenneth Tokita of the Cancer Center of Irvine.
Cruisin' For A Cure is billed as the largest one-day show of its kind, and the only one that makes prostate cancer screenings a focal point.
"I thought, what better way to get guys tested with our free prostate cancer screenings? They can bring their cars out and have a good time," said Debbie Baker, founder of Cruisin' For A Cure.
Hot rods, muscle cars, classics, vintage trucks, you name it -- about 20,000 spectators viewed the shiny rides. All men over age 40 were offered a free prostate cancer screening by medical staff from the Cancer Center of Irvine.
On the 18th year of this event, the results speak for themselves. More than 3,000 of the men who got screened here over the years found out they had the disease.
The PSA screening is pretty simple. A medical technician draws a small amount of blood, which is then sent to a lab. The confidential results are mailed in a few weeks. In some cases, the patient will be contacted by a doctor who will recommend a follow up.
"There is no other blood test in the world today that will detect a cancer, before it produces symptoms or before you can feel it," noted Tokita.
Irvine-based car care company Meguiar's has been a sponsor of the show from the beginning, and company figurehead Barry Meguiar can attest to the success firsthand.
"Two of our guys are alive today because of Cruisin' For A Cure, literally. And there are hundreds or thousands of guys who have the same story," said Meguiar.
And for Debbie Baker, who founded show along with her late husband, all the hard work in planning the show pays off year after year.
"It's a joy for me to have someone walk up to me and say, 'Thanks for saving my life, or my dad's life.'"