“You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.”
Tonya Truehill of Plattenville, Louisiana will forever be part of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s history. In August, she received the 100,000th cancer screening offered through the organization’s Prevention on the Go program.
Tonya has taken advantage of this free community program every year since 2010. She has lost several relatives to breast and gynecological cancers, including her mother. With this family history, Tonya knows it’s important to stay aware of her own health. “If I’m going to potentially face cancer one day, I want to make sure I deal with it in the beginning and not when it’s too late,” she said.
The Cancer Center launched Prevention on the Go free cancer education, prevention and screening program in 2002. The comprehensive program provides prevention and early detection services at no cost to individuals thanks to the generosity of the community.
Tonya remembers her first visit in 2010 and the great experience she had. As part of the program’s education services, Cancer Center team members explained how to complete a breast self-examination to the group of women waiting to be screened. Tonya says team members also ensured all her questions were answered. “Women in the community came together for something good,” she says. “This is why I kept going. I was comfortable, and everyone was so polite.”
With help from partners, the Cancer Center screens for breast, colorectal, oral, prostate and skin cancers across 30 parishes and counties in Louisiana and Southwest Mississippi. These ongoing efforts have been nationally recognized as best practices in outreach and make an impact on the overall health of people in the communities Prevention on the Go serves.
Prevention on the Go has also been expanded to the Delta Region of Louisiana, which consists of an additional 12-parish area.
It’s fitting that long-time participant, Tonya, helped the program reach its incredible 100,000th screening milestone in 2021 while the Cancer Center celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Since Prevention on the Go began, over 750 cancers have been detected from over 2,500 screening events.
Tonya believes the program has been beneficial to keeping community members healthy and added COVID-19 precautions also ensure individuals are safe while screening.
Tonya uses her own screening experiences to encourage others to attend. “You can’t handle something if you don’t know what you’re dealing with,” she said. “Getting screened is important to keep you from being in the dark.”
The Prevention on the Go workplace program also helps employers provide convenient access to cancer screenings for their employees. The mobile unit is available to set up curbside at a businesses’ location, eliminating the barriers of time, cost and access for busy professionals. Customized packages can be designed for the size of the organization and services requested.
To schedule an appointment as part of Prevention on the Go’s free community program, call (225) 215-1234 or view the calendar for upcoming screenings.