By Dr. Andrew Elson, Radiation Oncologist
A little over three decades ago, life in Hammond was different than it is today. While always a close-knit, family-oriented city, prior to 1988, there was no significant access to cancer care. But times have changed for the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish with the most advanced cancer treatment and services now available at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Hammond. March 14, 2018, marked the 30th anniversary of Mary Bird Perkins opening its doors in this location, and I am so proud to be part of this organization and community.
I’ll never forget when I joined the Hammond location’s medical staff several years ago and how this newcomer was accepted with open arms. I love working in a city where my patients can easily access our services and we are situated close to their homes. In fact, most of our staff is from the area and the Hammond team takes great pride in providing the best cancer care for their families and friends. They are also proud that Mary Bird Perkins has continually invested in this location, ensuring most modern cancer-fighting technology and services are available to patients. Examples include:
- Elekta Agility multileaf collimator, a state-of-the-art device allowing us to more precisely limit radiation only to the affected area, minimizing the impact to nearby healthy tissue and improving outcomes and quality of life for patients.
- The Discovery PET/CT 610 provides advanced scanning technologies with software capabilities producing high-quality 3-D images with both speed and accuracy. The device creates the precise data needed for disease detection and staging and treatment planning.
- We are one of only a few providers in Southeast Louisiana to offer Optune, a technology used to treat adult patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a form of brain cancer. This technology disrupts tumor cell division and inhibits tumor growth, enhancing quality of life for those with GBM.
- The Cancer Center’s physics team has credentialed and established protocols to enable the MRI scanner at North Oaks Hospital to produce high resolution MRI images capable of use for Gamma Knife Icon (GKI) radiotherapy planning. This streamlines the process of radiation planning and delivery for patients living in the Hammond area, requiring them to only travel to Baton Rouge for the one-time treatment. GKI is used to treat select cases of brain tumors and central nervous system disorders.
- Since 2002, the Cancer Center’s early detection program has screened almost 7,500 people and diagnosed 41 cancers in the Hammond area—all at no cost to participants.
- The facility’s interior and exterior were modernized to better embody the expertise and technological advancements available within the walls of the building.
These advancements and programs are made possible due to the tremendous generosity of the Hammond and surrounding communities. Businesses, individuals and organizations throughout the area have always supported their local cancer center, helping ensure the highest quality care is available close to home.
We all hope for a day when cancer is no more, but until that day, the Hammond community can count on Mary Bird Perkins. We are steadfast in maintaining the most advanced cancer services, provided by experienced, compassionate doctors, radiation therapists and other staff members. You can also take comfort in knowing that the Hammond location is reinforced by the entire Mary Bird Perkins network, Louisiana’s leading comprehensive cancer care organization.
We thank the entire Hammond area for entrusting us with their cancer care for the last 30 years, and we’ll continue working to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer for every person impacted by cancer.