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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS - In Louisiana,there isstill a higher rate of certain cancers despite progress in some areas.

So local doctors are spoke out on World Cancer Day,to help you lower your risk and know whichsteps you can take.

Doctors saywe can change ourcancer riskand by doing that we change our futures.

'The bad news is we are at the top fordeaths from cancer in the United States. We are generally number three or numberfour in deaths from cancer. But the good news is that cancers, many cancers are preventable or can be detected early and cured,' explained Dr. Donna Williams, anassistant professor of behavioral and community health sciences at the LSU School of Public Health at LSUHSC. She is also theDirector of theLouisiana Cancer Prevention and ControlProgram.

The number one addiction,nicotine,leads to several deadly cancers.So getting help through a smoking cessation program is key. Sunbathing and not getting regular skin screens also can lead to cancers.Alcohol use also ups your risk as well asobesity andnot exercising. A diet high infruits and vegetables and low inred meat and cured meat will help lower your risk.

We now know too, viruses can cause cancers, so getting vaccines can help prevent cancers. Vaccines for hepatitiscan help prevent liver cancer and vaccines for HPV can help prevent cancer of the cervix.

'We have the capacity to potentially wipe out cervical and liver cancer in the world if people took advantage of the vaccines.And for those who are beyond the age of which they should have them, that they're doing early detection, but we could actually follow on the path of polio, and just get rid of it in the world. Imagine having two cancers which no longer exist and are major killers,' saidDr. Edward Trapido, the assistant Dean of Researchat the LSU School of Public Health atLSUHSC.

'No one should get cervical cancer, much less die from it,' stated Dr. Williams.

The HPV vaccine is for girls and boys and can not only prevent cervical cancer but alsosome oral, anal and genital cancers. Getting regularpap smears and mammograms mean highersurvival rates too. Louisiana used to be the very last for women getting mammograms but nowmore getthe annual screening doso fewer women are dying from breast cancer.

There is a program at the LSU School of Public Health to help low income, uninsured women get services such as screenings and treatment for breast and cervical cancers.

The doctors say more people also need regular colon screenings.

'Colorectal cancer is a major killer of people in Louisiana and colorectal cancer can be prevented byhaving colorectal cancer screening which can detect polyps, that will eventually develop into cancer, and those can be removed,' explained Dr. Williams.

Public health doctors at LSUHSC are also following thousands of people exposed to the BP oil spill a few years ago,to see if chemicals, and even the stress caused by the spill,leads to more cancer.


To reach the cancer screening and treatment program for low income women call: 1-888-599-1073, or go to http://publichealth.lsuhsc.edu/lbchp.html

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