Ochsner – Baton Rouge on Role of Lifestyle and Genes in Cancer Development

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From Ochsner Medical Center – BR
    The National Cancer Institute estimates that over 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Hearing those words – I have cancer – can leave one in a state of shock with a number of questions. How did I get this disease? Could it have been prevented? Was it pre-determined in my family history? Or, was it just plain bad luck?
    Burke “Jay” Brooks, MD, Chairman of the Hematology/Oncology Department at Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge, said one-third of all cancers are tobacco-related.
    The simple lifestyle choice of smoking affects a significant portion of cancers in the United States. Another major contributing lifestyle factor is obesity and lack of exercise. Affecting about 20 percent of all cancer, obesity is commonly associated with breast, prostate and kidney cancers. A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), currently links Louisiana with the highest rates of obesity in the country – 36 percent of the state’s population – and that can correlate to the fact that our state traditionally has high cancer rates as well.
    Even though about half of all cancers can be lifestyle related, your genes or family history play a significant role as well. If you have a family history of a particular cancer, it is extremely important for you to discuss that with your physician for the appropriate screening guidelines, as you may be at higher risk.  The cancers most notably associated with genetic history are Breast, Ovarian, Colon, and Endometrial cancer.
    As for the last question – was my cancer just bad luck? Unfortunately, the answer is “possibly,” but experts can’t always determine it. Some cancers can form with no family history and in people who don’t smoke, eat right and exercise. 
    Bottom Line Community Recommendation:  Knowing that at least half of all cancers are lifestyle-related between smoking, obesity and lack of exercise, you can significantly reduce your cancer risk by taking care of yourself. Couple this fact with knowing your family history and following your screening guidelines, and you can detect your cancer very early oftentimes, making it much more treatable. 
    In 2017, the Ochsner Baton Rouge Cancer Center will be the first in Baton Rouge to conveniently offer a hematology/oncology outpatient clinic with both chemotherapy infusion and radiation oncology services on one floor, in the same building. The new $12.8 million facility will be located in the current Physicians Plaza II building at the Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge O’Neal Lane campus.
    For appointments at any of our Baton Rouge region locations, call 225-761-5200 or visit Online appointments can be made through the MyOchsner patient portal or by clicking Online Appointments.  Please follow us on social media: Facebook: Ochsner Health System, Twitter: @OchsnerHealth, Newsroom: for updates as additional information becomes available.