As studies show, the mortality rates for cancer differ all over the country; and lower income states such as Louisiana where treatment or early detection may not be readily available have higher mortality numbers. Yet while Louisiana’s numbers are still above the national average, progress is being made.
“When I arrived in Louisiana, patients with financial, geographic and other barriers to care lacked access to primary prevention and early detection services. As a result, the mortality from cancer in Louisiana was one of the highest in the U.S.,” says Todd Stevens, who took on the role as CEO of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in 1999. “A large portion of our population simply didn’t have access to basic screening and prevention measures, such as routine mammography or other types of early and preventative screening. They also lacked adequate access to high quality treatments. Many people were dying unnecessarily from a cancer diagnosis because they had simply been diagnosed too late. My mission, along with that of the Cancer Center team, was to change that.”