Improvements in cancer treatments and a warning for pregnant mothers


POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 2:35pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 4:28pm

Cancer treatment gets turned up a notch in Baton Rouge, thanks to new technology at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. They unveiled the new Elekta VMAT radiation machine one year ago. It's been in constant use since delivering over 6,000 life saving treatments.

Medical Director, Dr. Maurice King says this machine will change the way cancer patients receive radiation treatment. VMAT uses cat-scan images to deliver radiation directly to the target area. Because it's so precise, doctors can prescribe higher doses and get better results with less risk to surrounding tissue and organs.

Right now, the VMAT is being used to treat prostate cancer and patients who have had a mastectomy to remove breast cancer. Dr. King hopes more patients will benefit in the near future. Dr. King says head and neck cancer patients will likely be the next group to benefit from the VMAT.


Veron Foods, from Prairieville, is recalling 250 tons of ready-to-eat sausage and hog's head cheese. That's after some samples tested positive for Listeria. Listeria is a food borne bacteria typically found in deli meats, soft cheeses and other unpasteurized milk products.

The recall covers all packages of: Veron Hot Smoked Sausage; Veron Mild Smoked Sausage; Martin Hot Smoked Sausage; Martin Mild Smoked Sausage; Veron Andouille Sausage; Martin Andouille Sausage; and Veron Hog’s Head Cheese. All food being recalled is labeled with establishment number LA 22 inside the state inspection mark and date codes of 010110 through 111310.

Most people who ingest Listeria never know it, but for pregnant women, the effects can be life threatening. Pregnant women are nearly 20 times more likely to get Listeriosis, which is an infection caused by the bacteria. In 30 percent of cases, Listeriosis causes miscarriage. Another 20 percent of infants born with the infection do not survive. Doctors warn pregnant patients to be especially careful about what they eat and how the handle food. They say that is the best way to keep you baby safe.

Watch these stories and more on this segment of 33MD online now. You can catch new segments of 33MD every Tuesday and Thursday on NBC 33 News at 5pm.

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