Ochsner Medical Center Advises on Role of Lifestyle and Genes in Cancer Development
New Orleans - 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?
John Cole, MD, Senior Staff Physician, Hematology/Oncology Department at Ochsner Cancer Institute, 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:
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.
The Ochsner Cancer Network is part of Ochsner Health System and provides multidisciplinary care for adult and pediatric cancer patients. These patients benefit from a collaborative approach to cancer care by a highly skilled team of physicians, oncology nurses, social workers, researchers and other healthcare professionals. Ochsner has been recognized as a High Performing hospital by U.S. News & World Report.
For appointments at any of our New Orleans region locations, call 866-624-7637 or visit www.ochsner.org/. Online appointments can be made through the MyOchsner patient portal or by clicking Online Appointments.
Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 28 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 60 health centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 17,000 employees and over 1,000 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 1,000 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.