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A simple screening saves a life

A simple screening saves a life

Health screenings are a part of Sheldon Richards’ annual routine. He has been doing the screenings as part of the corporate wellness program at Campbell County Health (CCH) that his employer, Cloud Peak Energy, has offered for several years.

But when he got the results from his 2017 screening, things looked a little different. Sheldon, who’s now over 50 was given the recommendation by CCH Wellness staff to complete PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) screening, to test prostate cancer when he had his bloodwork done. He said, “sure,” and didn’t think much more about it – until the test results came in.

The results showed an elevated PSA level and it was recommended that Sheldon follow-up with a urologist.

“I procrastinated because the only symptom I had was having to urinate often,” Sheldon said. But eventually, his wife’s concern pushed him to schedule a follow-up appointment in late 2017.

After some time on antibiotics and further examination, a biopsy ultimately revealed the Sheldon did indeed have prostate cancer.

“The whole thing didn’t hit me until I was in the doctor’s office,” Sheldon said. “When you hear the c-word your life changes dramatically.”

In June 2018, he began undergoing a series of treatments, including radiation.

Ultimately, Sheldon’s just thankful that the wellness team recommended the screening or cancer could have been much more advanced before it was found.

“It was good they offered it,” Sheldon said. “They recognized my age and recommended the test. It makes you more appreciative of those screenings.”

CCH Wellness Supervisor and Health Coach Christina Rose says the screenings can catch big and small health issues, and that’s why it’s important to have the screenings done annually so there’s a greater likelihood that the health problem will be caught early.

“If any results flag as a concern, we strongly encourage clients to take their results to their physician for further care,” Christina said. Some clients may also receive a letter from the Campbell County Memorial Hospital Laboratory to indicate a certain measure is out of range to make sure the client is better aware.

In 2017, more than 15,000 people participated in CCH’s corporate wellness program. The annual blood screening and wellness coaching are provided through corporate partnerships with CCH that help many community members keep their health in check.

“Wellness programs focus on the things we have control over in our health so that we can make lasting behavior changes to improve quality of life, prevent disease and become better health advocates for ourselves,” Christina said. “It is encouraging to see employers supporting their employees through Wellness programs. Supporting employees on their journey to better health is truly a profound investment. Sheldon’s story is such a beautiful example of that.”

While Sheldon didn't enjoy a treatment, he does say he’s thankful that the prostate cancer was caught earlier enough that his long-term outlook is positive.

“My main thing is I want everyone to take it seriously and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Sheldon said. “What would have been my diagnosis if they hadn’t caught it? Men need to take these kinds of tests—they can save your life. Put away all your feelings of shame and embarrassment, and follow through with the screenings.”

Campbell County Health Wellness offers a daily screening program that makes it easy and affordable for all residents to have their blood checked, or get other health screenings, on a regular basis. The screening program provides blood draws Monday through Friday from 6-11 am at Wellness, located at 1901 Energy Court, Suite 125, with no appointment required. You can learn more about the screenings available at Wellness at www.cchwyo.org/screen, or call 307-688-8051.

Interested in learning more about Corporate Wellness programs?
A wellness program is an investment in your organization’s most important asset – your employees. Organizations implementing wellness programs report reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, improved employee morale, and organizational loyalty. CCH Wellness works with your company to improve the health of your employees as well as the spouses of those employees. To learn more about Wellness, please visit www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307-688-8051.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, a Wyoming freelance writer