Over 650 Screenings Provided 04/30/2008 Although cancer affects men and women of every age, race, ethnic background and economic class, the disease has a disproportionately severe impact on minorities and the economically disadvantaged. These disparities are due largely to barriers to receiving timely and high-quality medical care, resulting in a later stage diagnosis when the disease has spread.
On April 12, 2008 staff and volunteers of the Cancer Program of Our Lady of the Lake and Mary Bird Perkins -- with the help of Southern University, Woman’s Hospital and YWCA ENCOREplus --provided screenings for breast, prostate, colorectal and skin cancer as part of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week. In addition, glucose and blood pressure screenings were also available.
A total of 677 free health screenings were provided.
“Initial statistics indicate that we definitely reached the population in need of our help,” said Renea A. Duffin, executive director of Mary Bird Perkins’ CARE Network. “In two of the cancers we screened for, skin and colorectal, approximately 80% of the participants had never been screened for either cancer. Where breast and prostate screenings were concerned, for many it had been more than two years since their last screening. Additionally, sixty-nine percent of the men screened for prostate cancer had never been screened before.”
Mayor Kip Holden, Honorary Chairman of the event, was on hand to present a proclamation by the City of Baton Rouge recognizing April 20-26, 2008 as National Minority Cancer Awareness Week -- the purpose of which is to serve as a forum to increase awareness regarding the importance of early cancer detection among racial/ethnic minority groups.
Holden told those present at the screenings he was proud of them for actively taking control of their health. “I urge you to spread the word about the importance of early detection to your friends and relatives,” said the Mayor. “Take them to a free screening. It could save their life.”
“The Cancer Program of Our Lady of the Lake and Mary Bird Perkins is working with the National Cancer Institute to create programs and opportunities on a community level to raise awareness of the importance of prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer within minority populations,” said Kevin Guidry, cancer center administrator, Our Lady of the Lake. “With health fairs like these, it is our goal to continue to bring advanced cancer care to this community and to reduce disparities that exist in cancer care today.”
Minorities represented at the event included African-American, Asian and Hispanic. Interpreters were on hand to help those who did not speak English. The event was open to the entire community.