Rickey Jackson raises awareness about prostate cancer

Rickey Jackson raises awareness about prostate cancer

It's a top killer of men. Some call it a silent killer.

And now one of the toughest former saints players tells explains what saved his life, and why he now wants to help save yours.

Last year at a health screening for NFL alumni, a fellow football hall of famer told Rickey Jackson to have the simple blood test for prostate cancer.

"He asked me if I had taken the test and you know me being macho man, I'm thinking ain't nothing can be wrong with me. You know, I can go all day and all night," said Jackson.

Then Jackson left and played a round of golf .

"When I came back, he was sitting in the same spot waiting on me. And he told me he hadn't left that spot all day. He had been waiting for me to come back in the door," remembers Jackson.

The persistence of his friend may have saved Rickey's life. Only in his 50s, the test revealed he had prostate cancer. He was lucky it had not spread. He had the simple robotic surgery at Tulane Medical Center to have his prostate removed. Now he's cured.

"The key again exactly is early diagnosis because then we're looking at a cure. Unfortunately, since men don't get screened, even today we see that patients who are more advanced. said Tulane Urologic Surgeon Dr. Raju Thomas.

Around the same time last year,  long-time NFL athletic trainer Dean Kleinschmidt got the same test and the same news as Rickey.

"I had no symptoms. Rickey had no symptoms. Life was going on," said Kleinschmidt.

His prostate cancer also had not spread. He had the same robotic surgery at Tulane with Dr. Thomas. Now both Dean and Rickey have teamed up to help other men get the simple life-saving blood test.

"We're really encouraging the men of New Orleans to 'man up.' That's what we're calling it, 'Man Up.' Come in and take care of yourself," said
Kleinschmidt.

"'Can't nothing happen to me.' That's the attitude most guys carry around with theyselves anyhow.  That's the only thing I could try to give back, the hope that I could save somebody life," said Jackson.

The 'Man Up, Geaux Get Screened'  is Saturday. There will be 15 of your favorite former Saints players there with Rickey, a photo booth, autographs, food and a drawing for Saints memorabilia. Rickey will tell you his prostate cancer story and of course there will also be those free blood tests for prostate cancer and other health problems.

It's at Tulane Medical Center downtown in the main lobby, from 10am to 1pm.

And remember, all men should get screened but men with family history, or who are African-American or with obesity, are at higher risk. 


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