Since 2008, over 5,400 individuals have been screened at the Fest for Life.

After a decade of cancer screenings, Fest for Life is returning on Saturday, April 13 in Downtown Baton Rouge.

The event is hosted by Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center with a fun and festive environment in mind. The goal is to continue to save lives through early detection while providing the family with fun. The event this year will be between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on 4th Street, between North Street and Spanish Town Road.

Johnnay Benjamin, Director of Early Detection and Education for the Cancer Center, said, "Twenty-one people have been diagnosed with cancer through Fest for Life. Other diseases have been detected as well. The relaxed, family-friendly environment at Fest for Life takes some of the fear out of cancer education and early detection."

Since 2008, over 5,400 individuals have been screened at the Fest for Life. Cancer screenings include colorectal, breast, prostate, skin, and oral cavity. Screenings are available to those who have not been screened for cancer within the last twelve months. The only appointments that are required are for breast cancer screenings.

Other health problems that will be addressed at the event include blood pressure and glucose checks. Mortality rates continue to soar for conditions related to high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

One example is Tonja McMillan, who now understands the importance of early detection after discovering a lump in her breast during a self-examination.

"I had put off going to the doctor because of my busy schedule, taking care of my son, and managing a hair salon. Luckily, one of my clients mentioned the free screenings provided by the Cancer Center, and I knew if I didn't go that I never would," McMillan said.

McMillan's cancer was detected at an early stage because of this, and now has an excellent prognosis. She is serving as Honorary Chair for the 2019 Fest for Life.

Benjamin said, "McMillan is just one example of the power of early detection and the important of being proactive if you have the slightest feeling that something isn't right."

To make an appointment for a breast cancer screening, call 225-215-1234 or 888-616-4687. More information about Fest for Life can be found at marybirdlake.org/festforlife.

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