As we age, our risk of developing cancer may increase. Cancer is not always preventable, but older adults and their caregivers can still be educated on ways to keep the odds to a bare minimum. Here are several tips that we have put together on how you can prevent cancer in older adults.
Preventing Cancer in Older Adults
Cancer prevention is important for older adults as it helps to reduce the rate of fatalities and prevent the poor quality of life that is caused by advanced stages of cancer and the side effects of treatment. Efforts focus on preventing cancer as well as identifying the disease in its early stages through the use of screening tests. When someone is diagnosed with early-stage cancer, the treatment that they are likely to require will be less extensive and their chances for recovery are greatly increased. Age is not the primary deciding factor in a person’s ability to benefit or tolerate cancer treatment. However, older adults have a higher risk for poor outcomes, side effects, or even death.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Skin cancer is a direct result of sun damage. Being exposed to ultraviolet light increases the risk of this type of cancer. To reduce it, there are certain precautions that can be taken such as staying indoors when the sun is at its peak, seeking shelter whenever permissible, wearing clothes that cover the skin, and using sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Tobacco smoke contains 250 harmful chemicals and at least 69 of them are known to cause throat, mouth, lung, and larynx cancer. Cigarettes are not only harmful to the smoker, but it also implicates the health of others who breathe in secondhand smoke. Older adults who are smokers can reduce their risk of developing cancer by kicking the bad habit.
Studies have shown that eating healthily can help to lower the risk of cancer. Consuming plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains is one of the most effective ways to combat cancer as this category of food contains bioactive properties that have anticancer effects. Older adults who want to maintain healthy and balanced diets can consult a nutritionist for more information.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is another way that older adults can stave off cancer. Weight management is important to reduce the risk of a variety of cancers such as colon, prostate, and kidneys. Being overweight may also be connected to high insulin levels which is also a factor that contributes to cancer.
Regular Doctor Visits
Regular screenings for cancer are recommended to help detect colon, skin, and breast cancers. Doctors are able to check for any skin abnormalities during exams and colonoscopies should start at the age of 50 whereas mammograms should be performed once every 2 years. Detecting any abnormalities early is the key to stopping cancer before it evolves to a critical stage. Additionally, many types of cancer can still be treated if the diagnosis is given in the early stages.