Here in Louisiana, we aren't fond of stories about bad things that feature lists. Just like people in Florida hate to hear stories that begin with the words, " a Florida man". Here in Louisiana we generally know if it's bad news or not good for the children then chances are our state will be near or at the top of the list.

Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash.com
Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash.com
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Cancer is certainly a major health concern across the world and here in Louisiana as well. There is even a portion of our state that has earned the dubious distinction of being known as "cancer alley". Cancer Alley is an 85-mile stretch that runs along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It is probably no coincidence that in that same geographic area, there are some 200 petrochemical plants and refineries.

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And while our state might have a giant swath of ground called "cancer alley" we are not the state with the highest cancer rate in the nation. That distinction falls on the good people of Kentucky. But, Louisiana is number two, and again we find ourselves at the top of a not-so-good list to be on.

Incidentally, the state of Arkansas is number three on the cancer rate list and another Louisiana neighbor, Mississippi is in the top ten too. Mississippi, based on CDC data is the state with the ninth highest rate of cancer in the nation. 

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What Are The Most Common Cancer Diagnosis in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, the most common cancer diagnosis is Prostate Cancer. The Centers for Disease Control data suggests that in 2023 there have been 4,970 new cases. The estimated death toll from prostate cancer is just under 500 for this year and we still have a few months to go.

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3DVISU via Unsplash.com
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Prostate cancer has no particular prevention strategy other than basic good health practices such as exercising and eating a healthy diet. Like most cancers, regular screenings are the best way to beat this form of the disease. The disease is most common in males over the age of 50 so fellows, make sure you ask your doctor about regular screenings and tests because with proper and early detection the survival rate is nearly 100%.

The second most common cancer diagnosis in Louisiana is female breast cancer. The CDC data showed that in 2023 there were 4,050 new cases reported and some 690 deaths had been attributed to the disease as well. Again, diet and exercise can play a huge part in prevention but the real key is regular mammogram screenings.

Memorial Healthcare System via YouTube
Memorial Healthcare System via YouTube
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The guideline for mammogram screenings is that women who are between the ages of 40 and 44 should have the option to have an annual mammogram. The "optional" part comes out of the guidelines for women between the ages of 45 and 54. For women in that age group, an annual mammogram is something that your doctor should order for you as part of your overall health protocol. The guidance changes to an every-other-year protocol for women over 55 but each person is different, Ask your doctor what is best for your health.

The third most common cancer diagnosis for Louisiana residents is lung and bronchus. The CDC data showed just under 4,000 new cases diagnosed in Louisiana in 2023. Some 2,240 deaths have been attributed to that kind of cancer already this year.

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CDC via Unsplash.com
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Most of us are aware that lung cancer is prevalent in smokers or those who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Other factors include genetics and exposure to other carcinogens such as asbestos. But, even people who do not smoke and are not exposed to carcinogens can still get diagnosed with the disease. Again, regular checkups and lung scans are the best way to diagnose and defeat this disease.

The website 24/7Tempo.com has broken down the cancer diagnosis data for each state. You can check out their story here to see how residents in our neighboring states fare in the battle against cancer. It's a fight we all should be involved in and the kind of fight that with prevention and research, we can actually win.

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