Posted on May 7, 2018 in Senior Tips
To reduce the risk of cancer for the elderly, there are a number of precautions that should be taken. Skin cancer is one of the most types of cancer and as such has a high rate of appearance in the elderly population, where years of exposure can leave people at higher risk towards the end of their life. However, research has also shown that you can make simple lifestyle changes that can significantly extend lifespan.
Genetic history is a large component of what could potentially lead to cancer, but other things such as diet and physical fitness can also play a role. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 people will b diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, and that one person dies of melanoma every hour! To help save yourself from cancer and other forms of cancer, follow some of these simple steps!
1. Stop Smoking
This one is a no brainer for a reason. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is linked to almost 30% of deaths from cancer in the U.S. annually, and causes 90% of all deaths from lung cancer. Smoking causes more deaths per year than all the following combined: HIV, over-dosage, alcohol consumption, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm deaths. Why is it so harmful?
Carbon monoxide, found in car exhaust fumes, is an element of cigarettes that actually starves the organs of oxygen in the blood. Tar is another substance found within cigarettes that coats the lungs and negatively impacts breathing. Cigarettes have about 7000 chemical, 70 of which are directly related to cancer. Besides lung cancer, smoking also increases your chances of throat, mouth, kidney, and stomach cancers. Also don’t underestimate the effects of secondhand smoke. To significantly reduce your chances of developing cancer stay away from smoking at all costs.
2. Protect Against the Sun
There are many ways you can protect against the harmful rays of the sun. It’s important to remember that applying sunscreen whenever you’re outside is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. Apply a healthy dose whenever you leave the house, and make sure to buy a high SPF, preferably over 50. No matter how strong the SPF, sunscreen should also constantly be reapplied, ideally every two to four hours. And that goes doubly if you’re undergoing any physical activity.
You should also wear a good amount of protective layers when going outside. Look for lightweight fabrics that are highly breathable and offer good protection. There are even sun protective clothes that come with SPF protection built in. Sites like Coolibar, Sunprecautions, and Athleta all sell clothing that comes fully decked out in SPF protective layers. Adding a hat, along with sun shoes can also go a long way towards offering extra protection.
3. Develop a Workout Regime
Exercise is great for weight loss, cardiovascular health, and lowering risk for certain obesity related illness. But, did you also know it can lower your risk for different forms of cancer such as breast, colon, and endometrial cancer. Up to one third of cancer related deaths can be linked back to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, studies on the correlation between fitness and cancer have shown that women who exercise have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who live a sedentary lifestyle.
Over three dozen studies have shown that people who regularly exercise reduce risk of colon cancer by 20 percent or more compared to people who don’t. This is because exercise aids in bolstering digestive acids, something linked to increased protection from colon cancer. It’s also suspected that physical activity helps to reduce chronic inflammation to improve DNA repair. We’ve talked before about the importance of senior health and fitness. Beyond all the healthy benefits and positive physiological aspects, there is even the added bonus of reducing chances of cancer.
4. Avoid Red Meat and Processed Meat
The American Institute for Cancer Research has stated that consuming too much processed meat could increase your risk of contracting colorectal cancer. This includes meats such as hot dogs, sausages, spam, bacon, pastrami, and roast beef. While these foods are all delicious, the panel from the American Institute of Cancer Research advise greatly limiting red meat and avoiding processed meats altogether. Red meat and processed meats are typically smoked or cured through the addition of preservatives, which can make cancer-causing carcinogens form.
“Processed meats fall into the same category that cigarette smoking does with lung cancer,” Dr. Khorana says. “In other words, it’s an item that causes cancer at some point in the future if you consume high amounts,” says Alok Khorana, MD, Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Cleveland Clinic.
5. Get Tested Regularly
Regular screening can help reduce the risk of cancer by catching forms of it early on. This way, when they’re still small and haven’t spread yet, they are much easier to treat. For men, that means talking with your healthcare provider about testing for colon cancer and prostate exams. All seniors who smoked at one time or continue to smoke who talk about getting a low dose CT scan to screen for early signs of lung cancer.
For women, a mammogram should be taken roughly every two years, as well as to do regular self-check ups for any abnormalities. Likewise, men should perform self examinations regularly to check for abnormalities in the testicles. Screening tests are the best way to way to increase the chances of catching any form of cancer before it begins spreading.
We hope you enjoyed our list of 5 ways to reduce the risk of cancer in seniors. These tips apply to people of all ages, but for the susceptible population of seniors, these tips are of the utmost importance. Visit Landmark Senior Living to get more informational resources and find assisted living facilities near you.