Tags Archives: Colorectal Cancer

9 months ago Baton Rouge

Team Approach Used to Tackle Rectal Cancer

At age 47, Tavia Crumpler knew something was off.

The increasing symptoms of bloating, gas, and changes in her stool consistency were especially disturbing since her grandmother had suffered from colon cancer, but Tavia chalked it up to stress. When the symptoms didn’t stop, she began asking for medical help.

“I told every doctor I saw about these issues,” said Tavia. “On one hand, I didn’tA patient who was diagnosed by and received treatment of rectal cancer at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge, LA want to make too big of a deal about nothing, but on the other hand, I knew something wasn’t right.”

Nearly a year and several specialists later, the then-48-year-old was diagnosed with stage II rectal cancer.

“Thankfully, my OBGYN recommended a colonoscopy,” said Tavia. “That’s how they found the 3- to 4-centimeter lesion at the top of my rectum.”

From there, Tavia saw colon and rectal surgeon, Dr. Kelly Finan, who also chairs the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Rectal Multidisciplinary Team that includes surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, and other specialists. Dr. Finan explained to Tavia that this group of experts collaborates to provide every rectal cancer patient at the Cancer Center with an individualized treatment plan.

“I do a lot of research and have a lot of questions, so I was honestly relieved to learn that a whole team would be looking at every step of my cancer care,” recalls Tavia. “I felt free to ask my care team anything I needed to—and they have answered every question with stats and studies about what has or hasn’t worked to treat rectal cancer.”

The Rectal Multidisciplinary Team is working toward an exclusive accreditation from The National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), an honor that only six hospitals in the U.S. currently hold. Dr. Finan applauds Tavia for listening to her body and for paying attention to her symptoms.

“Finding cancer early is the key to start treating it as soon as possible,” says Dr. Finan. “Because Tavia advocated for herself, we were able to remove and treat it before it became deadly. Listening to your body can literally save your life.”

Nearly at the end of her treatment, Tavia now takes advantage of the mind-body medicine programs available at the Cancer Center.

“I appreciate the Cancer Center’s comprehensive approach to every aspect of my care,” says Tavia. “From health and wellness coaching to surgery to clinical trials, every question has been answered, and every need has been met.”

Tavia’s dedicated Rectal Multidisciplinary Team is one of the many examples of our disease site teams that work with each patient at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. From diagnosis to treatment to ongoing care, our team of specialists is here for our patients and their families. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of colon, rectal, and colorectal cancer.

“Finding cancer early is the key to start treating it as soon as possible,” says Dr. Finan. “Because Tavia advocated for herself, we were able to remove and treat it before it became deadly. Listening to your body can literally save your life.”

Nearly at the end of her treatment, Tavia now takes advantage of the mind-body medicine programs available at the Cancer Center.

“I appreciate the Cancer Center’s comprehensive approach to every aspect of my care,” says Tavia. “From health and wellness coaching, to surgery, to clinical trials, every question has been answered and every need has been met.”

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of colon, rectal and colorectal cancer, and find out when to be screened.

1 year ago Covington , Houma

Young Woman’s Caring Spirit Lives on in Gift to Mary Bird Perkins

Hillary Lanaux

The words above are just a few of the ways that Hillary Lanaux’s family describe her meaningful life.

Leaving a Legacy

This is why New Orleans residents Mr. and Mrs. Lanaux made a generous, transformational donation – one of the largest ever received across the state – to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s Prevention on the Go Program, which focuses on cancer prevention, education and early detection in Covington, Houma and surrounding parishes.

“This gift from my parents is really an offering to the community in honor of Dr. Saux and everyone who cared for Hillary, and for those now caring for my father,” said Hilda Lanaux.

“Hillary was a leader and was extremely empathetic to the plights of others. I know she would be so proud of how her grandparents’ gift will touch so many people.”

Why Early Detection is Important

Every year, 25,000 people in Louisiana and more than 3,500 people in the Covington and Houma areas alone are diagnosed with cancer each year. Chances of survival are much better when cancer is detected in its earliest stages, so raising awareness and increasing detection has become a life or death matter in Louisiana – ranked number four in the nation for highest cancer mortality rate. In fact, across the country, 80 percent of prostate cancer patients benefit from early detection while 99 percent of breast cancers are found early enough to treat and increase survivorship rates.

Services Close to Home in the Northshore and Bayou Regions

The Lanauxs’ gift is truly transformational in that it will fund prevention, education and early detection programs through the Northshore and Bayou regions where Mary Bird Perkins partners with St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Terrebonne General Medical Center. In these areas, the Cancer Center’s mobile medical unit travels throughout the Covington, Houma and beyond screening people for breast, colorectal, skin, oral and prostate cancers.

Currently, the Cancer Center’s mobile units provide nearly 50 screenings throughout the state each day. The Lanauxs’ gift will provide funding to Prevention on the Go for four years. Take a look at how this donation will impact the community.

Hillary Continues to Help Others

“Hillary was a people person and was president of her class in both her junior and senior years in high school. She was a mover and a shaker,” said Ethel Lanaux, Hillary’s grandmother. “While we don’t know how she would have impacted peoples’ lives in the future, she most certainly made the most of the short time she was with us. Our hope is that this gift in her name will help do the good that we know she would have done if she were still with us today.”

Through this gift, Hilary’s brave leadership and empathetic, helpful spirit will certainly live on.

For more information on how you can make a gift in memory or honor of someone special, visit our website.

1 year ago Baton Rouge

Rectal Cancer Survivor Urges Others to “Put Pride Aside and Just Get Screened”

Until Leslie McClendon had medical tests before knee surgery, the 57-year-old thought he was “the boss of himself”– including how much attention he paid to his health. Then a colonoscopy showed he had rectal cancer.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, so I didn’t think anything was wrong,” says Leslie. “It’s easy to think you don’t need to worry about your health until you realize you could’ve died without even knowing why.”

Why is early detection important?

Even though colon and rectal cancers are the second leading cause of deaths in Louisiana and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., more than 90 percent of cases can be cured when caught in the early stages. Thanks to preventive screenings, more than 1 million Americans are alive today because their colon and rectal cancers were found early and treated.

Colon and rectal surgeon Dr. Kelly Finan is chair of the Cancer Center’s Rectal Multidisciplinary Care Team that includes surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and medical and radiation oncologists and other specialists. These experts collaborate to provide every rectal cancer patient at the Cancer Center with an individualized treatment plan. The team is working toward accreditation from The National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), an honor that only two hospitals in the U.S. currently hold.

According to Finan, Leslie is not alone in the tendency to avoid screenings.

“Unfortunately, only about 65% of people who should have colonoscopies actually get them,” Dr. Finan says. “It’s so important to start treating cancer as early as possible. Thankfully, we found Leslie’s cancer in an early stage and removed it before it became deadly. Not only can screenings improve the type of treatment a patient needs, they can also increase the chance of survival. Getting screened literally saves lives.”

When should I get screened?

Because of a recent study showing that people born after 1990 have four times the risk of rectal cancer, the American Cancer Society has lowered the recommended age for colonoscopies from 50 to 45. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if they cover preventive colonoscopies for people younger than 50. If you are younger than 45 and have a family history of cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should be screened.

Advice from a survivor

“Just get the screening,” Leslie encourages. “I survived cancer and am healthier than ever because they caught it early. I can tell you from experience that it’s worth it to put your pride behind you in order to take care of yourself.”

Learn more about rectal cancer.

1 year ago Baton Rouge , Covington , Gonzales , Hammond , Houma

Have a Healthy Father’s Day!

Socks and ties are the typical go-to gifts because dads can be hard to buy for. But cancer prevention and early detection never go out of style.  Wish your dad a healthy Father’s Day and let him know about the top three cancers that affect men. Also, encourage him to talk to his doctor about his personal risks.

Prostate picture for Father's Day

Prostate Cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in Louisiana. Dad should talk to his doctor about when to begin prostate cancer screenings. About 161,360 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. each year. Take a look at this downloadable resource for more information or visit our prostate cancer page.

Colorectal picture for Father's Day

Colorectal Cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in men and women and can often go undetected until it has significantly advanced. Early detection is key; more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers can be cured when caught in its earliest stages. Take a look at this downloadable resource for more information or visit our colorectal cancer page.

Lungs picture for Father's Day

Lung Cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Louisiana. At least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking, but nonsmokers are still at risk. Having a first-degree family member with lung cancer roughly doubles the risk of developing lung cancer. Take a look at this downloadable resource for more information or visit our lung cancer page.

If your dad has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, SpaceOAR, a new technology that has revolutionized prostate cancer treatment may be an option. It’s a more comfortable, effective way to receive radiation treatment for the disease. This Father’s Day, take the time to discuss your family history and share this information with the men in your life. Learn more about our upcoming screenings and reduce your risk by visiting our screening calendar.

1 year ago Baton Rouge

Finding the Power Within to Fight Cancer

Rene Roquemore has loved comic books, especially ones focused on superheroes, since he was a kid, admiring the fictional characters’ strength and resilience. And when Rene was diagnosed with colorectal cancer last September, he wanted to embody those same characteristics while undergoing treatment.

“If I were a superhero I’d be called ‘Captain Resilient.’ My description would say something like: because of his faith and belief in the power of prayer, he can overcome any adversity…he can withstand and recover quickly from whatever the evil ‘Cancer Man’ throws his way,” Rene exclaimed.

When Rene was undergoing treatment he looked forward to participating in the Cancer Center’s survivorship programs to help raise his spirits. “Even the strongest of superheroes has a team or sidekick to help them, the doctors and survivorship group was part of mine,” he said. “Mindful meditation helped me learn to manage my emotions; I still meditate every morning when I wake up and it helps me prepare for my day.”

The Cancer Center offers survivorship programs to help patients and caregivers cope with the emotional and physical strains that can be experienced throughout the cancer journey. The integrative programs combine research-based therapy with traditional cancer care, aimed at alleviating the side effects of cancer treatment and improving overall well-being.

As we celebrate National Cancer Survivor Month, Rene encourages other survivors to try some of the survivorship programs the Cancer Center offers.

Rene and his dog
Cancer Survivor Super Hero

“Some days I felt like Superman and other times I didn’t know how I would make it through the day, but when I participated in survivorship programs they instantly lifted my spirits and I knew I could continue on being Captain Resilient.”

All Cancer Center survivorship events are free and open to the public, thanks to the generosity of the community. For more information, visit

3 years ago Baton Rouge

Fest for Life offers Lots of Louisiana-style Lagniappe

Louisiana is known for its fun, legendary festivals and events with unique spins on food, music and culture. However, ten years ago, something different premiered in Baton Rouge, offering an innovative approach to presenting cancer and other health topics with the same kind of flair. The annual event, Fest for Life, commenced in 2008, setting a new tone for delivering free cancer screenings, changing the way many people view these tests.

Hundreds are expected for this year’s tenth anniversary of Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s Fest for Life, Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Bon Carre’ Business Center, 7359 Florida Blvd. And living up to its reputation for a good time, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will kick off the event with a with a second line parade at 9:45 a.m. in honor of Fest for Life’s 10th anniversary.

Entertainment, food and games are all are a part of the scene and have become synonymous with the one-day health event, making potentially intimidating cancer screenings, fun.

Longtime Fest for Life participant Sharon Lindsey, a budding screenwriter, says that she began attending Fest for Life in 2013 to help ensure a healthier future. After losing her father to prostate cancer and having had numerous other relatives fight the disease, she takes no chances when it comes to her health.

“Over the years, I’ve brought my sister and nephews with me to Fest for Life because there’s something for everyone,” said Lindsey. “We’ve danced and enjoyed the food, but most of all we attended because of the screenings. It was a relief to know that we are in the clear, and now we are more educated on what we can do to help prevent cancer.”

Each year, Fest for Life offers five types of cancer and other life-saving health screenings and education, along musical entertainment, food, games for the kids and much more—all for free. Since Fest for Life began, more than 4,800 cancer screenings have been performed and 15 cancers have been detected. The event is part of the Cancer Center’s Prevention on the Go program.

Click here for more information on Fest for Life, or call (225) 215-1234.

3 years ago Baton Rouge

New Cancer Concern for Young Adults; a Leader Emerges

Generation X (born in late-1960s to early-1980s) and Millennials (born in mid-1980s to early 2000s) are learning that they may have increased risks for colorectal cancer. This warning comes from a newly released American Cancer Society study showing young adults have a higher risk of the disease, as compared to older generations. This is likely due to the complex relationship between colorectal cancer and obesity, as well as conditions caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.

Baton Rouge-native Barkley Booker, a Generation Xer and colorectal cancer survivor, is setting out to help educate younger people about of their risks, warning signs and screening options for the disease. A tireless advocate for early detection, Barkley is happy to share her story and encourages people to listen to their bodies.

“People tend to put off addressing their health,” said Barkley. “But, I’m here to say that being educated and proactive can save your life. I’m just grateful I’ve been given a second chance and I want to give back.”

As part of Barkley’s advocacy, she is a member of the Louisiana Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals who are dedicated to reducing the burden of colorectal cancer in Louisiana. This year, she also accepted the voluntary event chair role for Get Your Rear in Gear, a walk/run to help raise funds for colorectal cancer awareness in the Baton Rouge area.

Barkley wants to help spread the word that colorectal cancer can be a completely treatable and beatable disease. She invites everyone to attend Get Your Rear in Gear on Saturday, April 1 to help increase awareness of the disease and enjoy a healthy, fun family activity.

3 years ago Baton Rouge

Cancer Center to Host 10th Annual Fest for Life Event

Celebrating of 10 years of saving lives through cancer early detection


(Baton Rouge, La.) A decade ago, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center launched a community health initiative, Fest for Life, which today has grown into a large-scale event that has screened more than 4,800 people for cancer and other diseases. Hundreds are expected for this year’s tenth anniversary of Fest for Life, Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Bon Carre’ Business Center, 7359 Florida Blvd., where free cancer screenings and tests for other diseases, health education and resources, food, entertainment and more will be offered for the entire family.

Fest for Life began in 2008 as a way to provide racial and ethnic minorities and others disproportionately impacted by cancer with free, easy access to potentially lifesaving services. Over the last few years, Fest for Life’s audience has expanded to offer even more people, regardless of minority or insurance status, convenient access to early detection services.

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who is serving as the 2017 honorary chair of Fest for Life and has been involved with the event since its early years, commends the Cancer Center for its efforts, especially with Louisiana residents experiencing some of the highest cancer mortality rates in the nation.

“There is a growing need for these kinds of early detection and education services, and in many cases people would not receive them if it weren’t for Fest for Life. Because of this event, cancers are being caught early; lives are being saved,” said Broome. “I’m so proud to be a part of this effort. Its impact is really immeasurable because not only are many people in the Greater Baton Rouge accessing screenings, early detection programs throughout the country are emulating this model to deliver their services. ”

Johnnay Benjamin, director of early detection and education for the Cancer Center, says 15 people have been diagnosed with cancer through Fest for Life, and other diseases have been detected as well.

“Fest for Life’s focus is certainly on cancer early detection, but its scope goes beyond this one disease and addresses the many health problems impacting our city’s residents,” said Benjamin. “In addition to cancer, mortality rates continue to soar due to conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, and we provide screenings for all of these diseases.”

In addition to the health aspects of the event, Benjamin says that there has always been a focus on making Fest for Life an outing that the whole family can enjoy. Food, entertainment and children’s activities are all included at no cost, thanks to Karnival Krewe de Louisiane, the event’s presenting sponsor, along with other generous donors. As a special attraction in celebration of the 10th anniversary, Broome will kick off a second line parade at 9:45 a.m. at the event.

All screenings are available to those who have not been screened for cancer in the past 12 months. Appointments are required for breast cancer screenings only. To make an appointment, please call (225) 215-1234 or (888) 616-4687. For additional information about this event and other upcoming screenings, please visit


About Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advance technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife®Icon™. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit

3 years ago Baton Rouge

Colorectal Cancer Rising in Younger People

One of my patients, Barkley Booker, considers every day a gift after being diagnosed with Stage III colorectal cancer at the age of 37. Today, the mother of two girls ages 14 and 11, is a survivor because she quickly sought medical care when she noticed symptoms.

It’s important to note that Barkley’s case was rare because colorectal cancer can often go undetected until it has significantly advanced. And while more than 90 percent of new cases occur in people 50 and older, the disease has become a reality for many people younger than age 50; it is the only group in which incidence rates are on the rise.

The Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Care Team at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center recommends individuals with risk factors get screened regularly. Common risk factors include:

  • Age 50+
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancer

Anyone with symptoms such as rectal bleeding, change in bowel function, abnormal weight loss and abdominal pain should see their doctor immediately. There are a variety of ways to test for colorectal cancer, including colonoscopy, which is the gold standard for early detection. Take home fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits to detect hidden blood in stool are also available.

Colorectal Cancer

Barkley always tells people that getting screened for colorectal cancer is nothing to fear. It’s much better than the alternative of being treated for the disease. Because she took action early, she’s able watch her children grow up and live a healthy, active life. Now, Barkley, who works in sales/consulting, is writing a book about her cancer journey and other life experiences. Watch the video below to hear more about her story and the importance of paying attention to your body.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so now is a great time to learn more about the disease. For more information on colorectal cancer and screening options, visit To find out where you can pick up a free FIT kit at one of the Cancer Center’s free screenings, call (225) 215-1234.