According to the World Health Organization, between 30% and 50% of cancer cases could be prevented with lifestyle and environmental changes. This provides a message of hope to seniors and their families who are worried about their risk of developing cancer.
There's no sure-fire way to ensure you won't get cancer, but following simple lifestyle advice and encouraging others to follow your example could reduce the risk. Below, you can find some ways that seniors can help prevent cancer for themselves and their communities.
According to the Canary Foundation, the best way to reduce the number of deaths due to cancer is to detect it as early as possible.
The American Cancer Society provides advice about the type of cancer screening recommended for each age group. Seniors could also consider talking to their doctors about the potential benefits and drawbacks of different types of cancer screening. This is because the best testing protocol depends more on your overall health status as you age.
Following and encouraging others to follow cancer screening recommendations is a great way for seniors to help promote early cancer diagnosis.
Eating a balanced diet could help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Eating a healthy diet is no guarantee that you won't develop cancer. However, eating a variety of healthy foods could have some protective effects and support recovery if you're diagnosed with cancer.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a diet based on colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and plant-based proteins to reduce your cancer risk and improve overall health. It also advises limiting your intake of sugar, saturated fats, red meat and alcohol.
Research by the American Cancer Society shows that being overweight or obese can increase your chances of developing cancer. If you're overweight, you may wish to consider losing weight to help reduce your risk and improve your overall health.
You don't need to lose a huge amount of weight to experience the benefits. Research shows that overweight individuals could reduce their cancer risk by losing just 5%-10% of their body weight.
Members of the Bethesda Gardens Fort Worth assisted living community have plenty of resources to help them lose weight. The dedicated health care team is always on hand to provide advice and support, and seniors can benefit from personalized exercise programs to help slim down and improve their health.
Exercising can help reduce your risk of certain cancers, and it can also make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Research by the American Cancer Society shows that even low-impact exercise like walking can help reduce your cancer risk.
The society recommends around 150 minutes of brisk walking per week split between multiple sessions, but its recent research shows that any amount of walking could help you live longer. Other studies also show that regular walking can reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.
Residents of the Bethesda Gardens Fort Worth assisted living community can enjoy walking in the landscaped on-site gardens, and there are plenty of beautiful spots for walking in the surrounding area. A popular walking space is the Tandy Hills Natural Area, where seniors and their families can enjoy exercise surrounded by indigenous prairies. Many walking routes are relatively flat, making them a more suitable option for older adults and young children.
It's well-known that smoking significantly increases the risk of lung, mouth and throat cancer. However, quitting smoking also can help reduce the chances of developing other cancer types, including stomach, pancreas and liver cancer. Therefore, you may wish to consider kicking the habit if you're a smoker.
The American Cancer Society says that giving up smoking at any age can help reduce your risk of developing cancer and other diseases related to tobacco use. However, quitting before the age of 40 could slash the risk of dying from a smoking-related disease by as much as 90%, so seniors can help prevent cancer by encouraging and supporting younger smokers in their families to give up too.
If you or someone you know needs help to quit smoking, the Yes Quit service from the Texas Department of State Health Services could be a useful resource. It provides free telephone and online support to help people learn strategies to live smoke-free.
Raising awareness of cancer and the importance of cancer screening is a way for everyone to get involved in the fight against cancer.
Seniors can begin raising awareness in their communities by educating themselves on cancer symptoms and learning more about cancer screening recommendations and prevention advice. Sharing their newfound knowledge with their families and members of their assisted living communities is an effective way to help prevent cancer.
Assisted living community members and their families could also consider fundraising for one of the many charities carrying out vital research to advance cancer prevention and treatment. You can find plenty of fundraising ideas on the American Cancer Society website, and you could even start a Facebook fundraising campaign from the comfort of your assisted living apartment. You can also use the website's event finder tool to find fundraising and outreach events to get involved with in the Fort Worth area.