There’s Never Been a Better Time to Quit

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC offers free services to help kick tobacco habit


(Houma, La.) After kicking a 42-year smoking habit that began with chewing tobacco at age 18, Houma business owner Craig Ordoyne says he has never felt better. He credits much of his success to the support he received by enrolling in Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC’s Geaux Free tobacco cessation program. Ordoyne said he hopes other tobacco users will take the steps to quit and register for the Cancer Center’s free group programs or individual counseling sessions that begin in January.

“I’m exercising now, too, so I’m losing weight,” said Ordoyne, who walks two miles before work each morning and two more when he gets home. “The support of the group and the expertise of the teacher reinforced my determination to quit.”

Tobacco use can lead to serious health problems, including lung, head and neck, bladder, kidney and cervical cancers. Because of these risks, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC offers Geaux Free, a free tobacco cessation counseling program to help people break the nicotine addiction.

“Health benefits begin almost immediately when people quit using tobacco, including the heart rate returning to normal, and the risk of a heart attack decreasing,” said Dr. Jeffrey Long, radiation oncologist and medical director of the Cancer Center. “Over time, lung function improves significantly and the risk for developing cancer decreases.”

Heather Price, certified tobacco treatment specialist and the Cancer Center’s prevention and education specialist, encourages tobacco users to enroll in Geaux Free to help make a lasting change. “Geaux Free helps individuals prepare for quitting, manage withdrawal symptoms, identify triggers that create urges, and learn new behavior and skills to help remain tobacco-free,” she explained.

Weekly one-hour group sessions are scheduled Jan. 13 – March 17 from 12 – 1 p.m. in the 3rd floor activity room of the Cancer Center. Individual counseling is available on Tuesdays by appointment. All Geaux Free counseling is provided by a certified tobacco treatment specialist. For more information on Geaux Free, visit or call (225) 215-1370.


Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC provides the full spectrum of cancer care, from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship for those in the Bayou Region. Its services include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, as well as patient navigation, clinical trials and free community screenings. The Center is nationally accredited with commendation and recognized for excellence in cancer care by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.