Four mobile medical units parked in Jambalaya Park on Saturday to provide free cancer screenings to area residents.

Renea Duffin, vice president of cancer support and outreach for Mark Bird Perkins Cancer Center, said the fifth annual event offered free testing for breast, skin, prostate and colorectal cancers. Visitors could also get blood pressure checks and blood glucose testing. Unlike previous years, participants pre-registered, checked in and could sit in their vehicles until their testing was ready to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Music played as children played in a designated fun zone.

Duffin said that since the Gonzales testing program started, 650 residents have been tested and five cancers detected.

Early cancer detection is key to surviving cancers, Duffin said, and easy, convenient testing programs provide more opportunities for residents.

Mary Bird Perkins' prevention, education and early detection program is called Prevention on the Go and Live Well in Ascension is part of that program. The Prevention on the Go screening program started in southeast Louisiana in 2002 and has screened 100,000 people.

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Duffin said the Gonzales event saw a "steady stream of people all day."

On Monday, Mary Bird Perkins announced that preliminary numbers indicate 110 screenings were done, with 5% abnormal results at time of screening. A nurse will be assigned to patients with abnormal results to ensure appropriate follow-up care.

Mary Bird Perkins and the Gonzales Area Foundation hosted the Gonzales event.

“The Gonzales community invited Mary Bird Perkins to become engaged in cancer care by opening a center there in 2009. Since that time, we’ve established a highly collaborative relationship with the people of Ascension Parish, especially with those involved with the Gonzales Area Foundation,” said Heather Johnson, director of early detection and education. “It is because of the Foundation and many other supporters’ dedication to Mary Bird Perkins’ mission that we are able to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer for Ascension Parish residents through events such as Live Well.”

Editor's Note: This story was changed Oct. 12 to clarify the name of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center's prevention, education and early detection program.