Submitted by Ryan Donnelly
Sept 16th, 2021, VOL. 3 ISSUE 2
Fort Erie MPP Wayne Gates was on hand for the annual golf tournament held at the Fort Erie Golf Course on September 4th to raise money for those seeking a PSA test or those fighting prostate cancer. The event is hosted every year at the Fort Erie Golf Course by its owner, Larry Gibson, and is open to the public.
“Every year this incredible course holds a tournament so they can raise money to reimburse residents for the costs of their PSA tests,” said Gates. “It’s such an incredible and caring thing to do for our community, to raise money and have some fun in a way that can help save some of our neighbours lives here in Fort Erie”.
The issue is personal for Gates who tabled legislation before the Ontario Legislature to provide universal coverage for the cost of the test in 2020. At the time experts from the Canadian Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Canada, and Movember who publicly supported his call for OHIP coverage of the testing joined Gates. Currently, Ontario is one of only two provinces that does not provide coverage for the testing upon physician referral.
“We know that when caught early prostate cancer has almost a 100% survival rate, when it is caught at stage 4, the survival rate is 28 percent,” said Gates. “Too many people either can’t afford the test or put it off due to the cost and then the cancer is allowed to grow. In our province, your ability to get quality care early should not depend on your ability to pay. It actually ends up saving taxpayers a lot of money because if people can get the test early they’re avoiding expensive OHIP-covered cancer care treatment down the road. It saves lives and it saves money, to me that’s a no-brainer.”
On average, a late-stage diagnosis costs $66,000 more than if the prostate cancer was caught early. If all men with Stage IV prostate cancer were diagnosed earlier, this is a savings of over $60 million every year.
Prostate cancer is the 4th most common cancer in Canada and the most common cancer in men with 1 in 9 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer over their lifetimes. Every single day 64 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 2020 alone, over 23,300 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of this, it is projected that around 4200 men will die from prostate cancer.
After the tournament, Larry Gibson, the owner of the Fort Erie Golf Course, encouraged those who had been tested for prostate cancer to bring the receipt of their test to the golf course where they would be reimbursed from the funds raised at the tournament.
Wayne reminded residents that even though the test is not fully covered, residents should still be speaking with their physicians regularly about the test. “We cannot stress enough how important it is that you get tested early. If you get tested early your odds of surviving this cancer rise dramatically, it can literally be the difference between life and death. Above all, I want to thank Larry and the staff of the Fort Erie Golf course for acting so selflessly. Every year they work hard to make this tournament such a success and it’s very moving to know they do it just so they can help others, it’s really incredible.”
In the picture: Wayne’s foursome includes his son in law Trevor, Larry Gibson, and his friend, Trevor.