In the late 1960s, sixteen community leaders headed by Dr. M.J. Rathbone, Jr. and Anna B. Lipsey saw the need for a community owned, nonprofit radiation cancer facility in the greater Baton Rouge area. With both the vision and financial support of the Baton Rouge community the Cancer Radiation and Research Foundation – now known as Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center – was established.
In 1968, the Foundation held a capital campaign capped by a generous gift of land from philanthropist Paul D. Perkins, whom he made in honor of his late daughter, Mary Bird. In 1971, the Mary Bird Perkins Radiation Treatment Center opened its doors in Baton Rouge. After 14 years of operation, in 1985, Mary Bird Perkins relocated to its present site on Essen Lane and installed the first linear accelerator in the state. The following year, in 1986, the name of the center was changed to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.
In 1988, the first satellite treatment center was opened in Hammond, followed by six more Centers in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi: Covington in 1998, Houma in 2008, Gonzales in 2009 and Natchez in 2019. In 2018, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Our Lady of the Lake and Woman’s Hospital opened the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion and partnered with Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary. Additionally, the Cancer Center partners with LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic.
From its inception, the mission of Mary Bird Perkins has been to provide the highest quality radiation therapy and compassionate support to all patients and their families. This commitment, created by the Center’s founders, has been generously supported year after year by the local community.
Today, Mary Bird Perkins is not only a leader in providing state-of-the-art radiation therapy across southeast Louisiana and the Natchez, MS area, but it is also bringing screenings and early detection programs, education and research to its service areas. Through multiple innovative partnerships, Mary Bird Perkins is succeeding in its mission to fight cancer.
Mary Bird Perkins was and still remains a community initiative. It is through support from the community and partner organizations that the organization will successfully meet future challenges of providing patients with state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive community cancer care.
Cancer Services and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center (MBPCC) joined forces in an effort to provide support services to those impacted by cancer in Southeast Louisiana. For more than 60 years, the organization has worked closely with cancer patients during their treatment and recovery to ensure they maintain a healthy wellbeing, medical equipment, nutritional supplements and more. Cancer centers from throughout the region refer patients and their families to Cancer Services for critical support and assistance to patients and their families.
Cancer Services serves about 4,000 people per year, including children and their siblings impacted by cancer.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Gonzales has been awarded a three-year term of reaccreditation in nuclear medicine as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR), Committee on Nuclear Medicine Accreditation. Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material, administered or by the patient, to diagnose or treat a variety of disease, including many types of cancers, heart disease and certain other abnormalities within the body.
The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.
The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care. The College serves more than 37,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.
The Commission on Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) has granted full reaccreditation to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Medical Physics Residency Program. Mary Bird Perkins is the first center in Louisiana to establish such a program, helping provide highly specialized professionals to the workforce and enhanced care for cancer patients. Mary Bird Perkins has been accredited by CAMPEP since 2014.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center was been named an Innovator Award recipient by the Association of Community Cancer Centers for the organization’s early detection program. Through the Innovator Award, organizations are recognized for their forward-thinking, pioneering solutions for the effective delivery of cancer care. Mary Bird’s early detection program is working to help reduce mortality especially among the uninsured and underinsured adults who are traditionally underserved and experience even higher rates of mortality than the general population.
Louisiana and Gulf South residents have more options to seek advanced cancer treatment, thanks to a $13.6 million National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) award. Presented to LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the NCORP grant focuses on conducting multi-site cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery research studies in many Louisiana communities. Mary Bird Perkins, along with other partners, will work in partnership with LSU Health New Orleans, referred to collectively as the Gulf South Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program.