PSA testing to be added to Guinness Book of World Records

Frantically trying to accommodate the hundreds of men waiting in line for a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, yellow-shirted volunteers at the Prostate Cancer Centre tried their best to get everything organized.  


Darcy MacPherson watches as nurse Amanda Dick draws his blood. MacPherson was surprised at how simple the test was.

The Prostate Cancer Centre, located at the Rockyview General Hospital, hosted a first-of-its-kind event on Wednesday, trying to motivate men over the age of 40 to get tested for Prostate Cancer.  

The point of the event was to raise awareness for prostate cancer testing in Calgary, and to challenge other cities to beat the record that was set on Wednesday.  

Joanne Anderson, a representative of the Prostate Cancer Centre, said that the idea behind the event was not to hold the record for long, but to challenge other cities to beat it.  

“That doesn’t mean that we want to set the record too low. We wanted to set the bar high for a reason,” she said.  

As they closed their doors to the public at 6 p.m., the results were in and the record officially established at 988. It will appear in the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.  

The centre was busy right from the moment they opened their doors.  

Donald Ferguson showed up for the event at 9:30 a.m., and said he was excited to get tested to help create a new record.  

“My father is a prostate cancer survivor, and my brother was recently diagnosed, so for me it’s important to get tested,” he said. “My dad was diagnosed at an early stage of the cancer, and got treated for it right away, so that’s really a motivation for me to get checked.”  

According to Dr. Bryan Donnelly, urologist at the centre, an estimated 4,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in Alberta every year and 420 of them, about one in 10 people, will not survive.  

“We always stress the importance of getting tested for prostate cancer, but we really didn’t know what to expect in terms of the number of people showing up to our event,” Dr. Donnelly said.  


An estimated two hundred men line the hallways of the Prostate Cancer Centre at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Staff members did not anticipate such a high turnout so early in the day.
Photo by: Matthew Hayhurst

“We were certainly hoping, but weren’t expecting this many people so early in the morning.”  

Susan Steckley, a nurse at the centre, said that she felt a bit overwhelmed by the volume of people waiting for a test.  

“It’s a bit overwhelming to have this many people here and to try to keep things moving smoothly, but it’s all for a good cause,” she said.  

“I heard that people are being turned away already, which is sad because the whole point of the event is to get as many people tested as possible – but I don’t think anyone expected this many people so early in the day.”  

Linda MacNaughton, who organized the event, said that it is important for men over 40 to get a baseline PSA test performed every five years, and men over 50 to have a PSA test performed every year to detect any changes.  

Darcy MacPherson came to the Prostate Cancer Centre having never had a PSA test before.  

“I thought it would be a good idea to get checked today, since I’ve never been tested before,” he said. “My wife had some influence on me being here as well. “  

As of April 2011, PSA testing in Alberta has become government-funded — all a man has to do is book a test with their physician. There is a charge of $27 for PSA testing when it is done through local laboratories unless prostate cancer is suspected, in which case the testing is free.  

For more information on PSA testing, visit 

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