Cruisin' for a Cure shows off classic cars, helps get men checked for prostate cancer

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- The sounds of classic cars and hot rods will be heard in Costa Mesa Saturday. But that distinctive rumble is also the soundtrack for a day of men taking care of their health.

"This one is the 'save your life' car show because we do free prostate cancer screening," said Debbie Baker, the founder of Cruisin' for a Cure at the OC Fairgrounds.

Cruisin for a Cure takes place this time every year, and has a great track record.

"Last year, we did 867 screenings, and out of that, 167 guys were told to go see their doctors because they have elevated PSAs. And we've already confirmed that 62 guys had prostate cancer, that they never would have known about if they did not come to the show," Baker said.

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A car show that is held to raise awareness for prostate cancer research kicked off in Costa Mesa Saturday.

A car show like this is an ideal place for men to get tested for prostate cancer, as the two demographics of men who are into classic cars, and also men over the age of 40, go almost perfectly hand-in-hand. And it doesn't matter what kind of a car a guy is into, it'll be here among the 3,500 on display.

"We have every vehicle and every year possible. We have trucks, we have Corvettes, we have new, we have old, and we have customs," Baker said.

And all day long, KSK Cancer Center of Irvine will be conducting the free screenings in one of the main buildings in the center of the fairgrounds.

Nurses and other health care professionals will even help men fill out the form. If a participant feels that he may be of high risk, a doctor can perform a physical prostate exam in a private portable exam room.

The blood screening test, which checks levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen), takes only a few minutes. A confidential letter is then sent to the patient in a week or two.
Medical experts say it's important for every man over 40 to get tested, as prostate cancer has no symptoms in its early stages.

"It's completely asymptomatic. By the time it becomes symptomatic, such as difficulty urinating or bone pain, curing it is just not in the mix," Dr. John Ravera said.

Mixed in among all those cars and about 20,000 spectators will be prostate cancer survivors, like Rich Miller of Yorba Linda. He's an 11-year survivor and comes back every year.

This year, he'll be showing off his gorgeous vintage Ford F-100 Panel Delivery. And, like the other survivors, he'll be wearing a special blue Cruisin' for a Cure "survivors" shirt.

Baker, who lost her own husband to prostate cancer some years ago, sums up the idea of the show very simply.

"They take care of their cars, so they need to take care of their bodies as well," she said.
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