Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center opens in Gonzales

Staff reports

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, in partnership with St. Elizabeth Hospital, officially has opened the doors to its new Gonzales facility.

Residents of Ascension Parish and surrounding areas now have more convenient access to a broader range of cancer services from community outreach to advanced treatment.

“It is important to St. Elizabeth Hospital that we constantly work to bring the latest and most advanced technology to the residents of Ascension and the surrounding parishes,” said Dee LeJeune, CEO of St. Elizabeth Hospital. “This exciting partnership will offer cancer patients expanded options in the fight against cancer bringing it close to home, friends, and family.”

The new treatment facility features state-of-the-art technology, including a high-energy linear accelerator utilizing advanced image guided radiation therapy (IGRT); intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT); state-of-the-art imaging using positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT); sophisticated treatment planning, as well as physics and dosimetry quality assurance instrumentation and software.

The first of MBP’s $20 million dollar investment in Elekta digital linear accelerator technology was installed in the new facility. At the center, MBP can treat many types of cancer with the Elekta Synergy, from simple to the most complex cases. Elekta Synergy is a fully-digital linear accelerator with an integrated 3D imaging system that can image the site receiving radiation immediately before treatment to ensure the highest accuracy possible. This allows for a reduction in the volume of healthy tissue affected by the radiation dosage.

The radiation oncologists at the new facility include two members of the nine- member Southeast Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group (SLROG) practicing exclusively at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center locations. This group of physicians has over 200 years of combined experience. In addition, the facility is supported by MBP’s medical physics and dosimetry team, two radiation therapists, two PET CT technologists, financial counselor, dietitian and social worker.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with St. Elizabeth, community physicians and residents in the greater Ascension area to support cancer care,” said Todd Stevens, president and CEO of MBP. “This partnership brings to the citizens of this area state-of-the-art technology, expanded cancer services and outreach programs, from early detection to survivorship.”  

Mary Bird Perkins and St. Elizabeth Hospital continue to jointly enhance outreach services with a grassroots approach to saving lives through education and early detection.

“We look forward to continue working with St. Elizabeth to share the message of early detection,” said Renea Duffin, executive director of CARE Network, MBP. “Going straight to the community to help people better understand how to reduce their risk for cancer and to encourage people to get screened helps save lives.”

In recognition of National Colorectal Awareness Month, MBP and St. Elizabeth Hospital are partnering to offer a colorectal screening on March 14 at the new facility.

Colorectal screening kits will be distributed to men and women age 50 and older who have not been screened for colorectal cancer in the past 12 months. Call 225-215-1234 or (toll free) 1-888-616-4687 for more information.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has been fighting cancer for more than 35 years with locations in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales. It has comprehensive cancer programs with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington. These programs are accredited by the American College of Surgeons.

For more information, visit www.marybird.org.