BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - To have a fighting chance against cancer, the disease must be caught early. Regular screenings are the best defense, but not everyone takes those recommended preventative measures. In an effort to get more people screened, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center recently launched a pilot program that brings doctors to the workplace.
Amber Bordelon recently got screened for skin cancer for the first time. She was able to do it while on the clock at Albemarle in Baton Rouge.
"It is certainly much more convenient than say making an appointment with your doctor and driving all the way across town," she said.
The busy mom and avid runner learned that the arms and legs are the most common spots for melanoma to show up in women.
The Cancer Center's mobile screening bus parked outside Albemarle for one day as part of the new Corporate Access Program. Albemarle pledged an annual gift of $200,000 for the next five years to help build the program at their office and beyond.
"When people are healthy and happy and doing well, they do well in their jobs," Albemarle Foundation director Sandra Holub said. "They miss less work, and even with the screening coming to the workplace, they don't have to take time off to go to the doctor."
50 to 60 percent of Albemarle employees have never been screened for skin cancer, Holub added. On the day the bus came to the office, 75 people signed up for the 15-minute break from their desks. The Cancer Center hopes this pilot program will turn into a bigger effort to build a healthier Louisiana.
"We don't diagnose more cancer (in Louisiana), we just die from it more. Our mortality rate is 14 percent higher than the national average," Cancer Center vice president Ethan Bush said. "These are the types of programs we need, not only in the community settings for everyone to have access to, but also in our corporate settings."
Organizers will pilot the program at three companies and then use their feedback to decide how to expand it. Besides cancer screenings, the program will also offer risk assessments and interactive, in-person educational seminars.
If you know a business that may be interested in hosting a cancer screening, call Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center at (225) 215-1207.
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