Walmart Funds Cancer Screenings in Southeast Louisiana

$50K grant helps Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center screen thousands of uninsured


(Baton Rouge, La.) Last summer, 2011, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center (MBPCC) received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program to deliver 15 community-based cancer screening events to uninsured and under-insured adults living in 18 parishes in southeast Louisiana. Louisiana has the second highest cancer mortality rate in the country, as well as an uninsured population greater than 20 percent—many of whom are the working poor.

“Access and utilization of cancer screenings by all Louisiana residents would reduce the state’s high cancer death rate by finding cancer early when treatment can be more effective,” said Ethan Bush, vice president and chief Development officer, MBPCC. “The Walmart State Giving Program recognizes this fact and we are grateful for their important support of our Early Detection Program for the medically underserved.”

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and its health partners traveled in mobile medical clinics to over 200 medically underserved communities in the past year to provide free cancer screening events, including the 15 funded by the Walmart Foundation, for breast, colorectal, prostate, skin and oral cancers. During the grant period, more than 6,200 people were screened inside the mobile clinics, which were often set up in parking lots of partnering Walmarts, grocery stores, and community centers. Screenings were offered at various times to accommodate those with jobs but uninsured or under-insured, as well as the unemployed and uninsured.

The percentage of cancers diagnosed at cancer screenings offered by MPBCC in southeast Louisiana is significantly higher than the national average, substantiating the need for this free service.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana.