When discussing cancer, the term "risk factor" refers to anything that may increase an individual's chance of developing a disease. It is not always known or understood how risk factors affect cancer development. Some risk factors can be controlled, particularly those related to behavior, such as the abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and food. Others, however, are beyond individual control, such as age, gender, or genetic heritage. Doctors are able to use risk factors to determine who is at a higher risk of developing cancer.
It is important to understand personal risk factors when it comes to cancer. Those with family members who have had cancer, especially those whose cancers developed early in life, run a higher risk. Awareness of family history will help decide which screening tests, if any, are best for you, and how often. In addition, reviewing your personal habits with respect to use of tobacco and alcohol, as well as diet and exercise, will aid in any plan you develop with your doctor to reduce your risk for developing cancer.
For a more in-depth look at risk factors and how to assess them, visit the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) interactive Web site, Cancer Risk: Understanding the Puzzle.
Tobacco Control Initiative
The Tobacco Control Initiative (TCI) offers a comprehensive treatment program to LSU hospitals throughout the state. TCI uses evidenced-based tobacco cessation services. Health care providers can refer to the Shreveport Program housed in the LSUHSCS Ambulatory Care Clinic using the referral form linked below. Patients can self-refer by calling 318.813.2233. The treatment program includes:
- behavioral counseling
Print an outpatient referral form and fax to 318.813.2238.
Free tobacco cessation help (cigarettes or smokeless tobacco) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in multiple languages to Louisiana residents through the Quit-line. This program, sponsored by the Louisiana Coalition for Tobacco Free Living, offers free individualized telephone sessions with a certified counselor. The Quit-line can also help with referrals to the hospital-based Tobacco Control Initiative for those who wish counseling in person. The program also provides assistance in obtaining nicotine replacement therapy (i.e. the “Patch”) or prescription medications such as Wellbutrin or Chantix.
For immediate assistance or information, night or day, call 1.800.QUITNOW.