Cancer. The “Big C.” Nearly everyone knows someone who has or has had it. Many people have lost a loved one to it. We’d all like to eradicate the deadly disease, but until that happens, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of getting cancer. April is National Cancer Control Month, a month focused on spreading awareness about cancer and how it can be prevented. Below are 4 ways family caregivers can help their older family members to prevent cancer.
#1: Attend Cancer Screenings
Talk to your aging relative’s doctor about which cancer screenings they need. According to the American Cancer Society, men aged 65 and older may need to be screened for colon, prostate, and lung cancers. Women may need to be screened for breast, cervical, colon, and lung cancers. Early detection of cancer makes it easier to treat and increases the chances of a successful outcome.
A home care provider can drive your aging relative to appointments for cancer screenings.
#2: Don’t Use Tobacco
Tobacco use of any kind is a risk for certain kinds of cancer. Smoking causes lung, kidney, pancreas, and several other kinds of cancer. Chewing tobacco can lead to oral and pancreas cancer. Also, being around other people who smoke increases cancer risk due to breathing in secondhand smoke.
If your senior family member smokes, a home care provider can support them while they try to quit. Home care providers can offer distractions and reminders to use smoking cessation medications or strategies suggested by the doctor.
#3: Eat a Healthy Diet
Many studies concerning cancer prevention have focused on what people eat. There is some evidence that eating too much red meat can increase inflammation in the body, which is believed to contribute to the development of cancer. Also, eating foods rich in anthocyanins has been linked to slowing the growth of cancer and preventing it. Anthocyanins are found in colorful fruits and vegetables. There is also some evidence that women who follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of breast cancer.
Home care providers can cook healthy meals for your loved one that contain plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein.
#4: Use Sunscreen
Skin cancer is an extremely common form of cancer, and one that is fairly easy to prevent. The most important step to take in preventing skin cancer is using sunscreen and reapplying it every two hours when the senior is out in the sun. In addition, seniors can prevent skin cancer by wearing clothes that cover their skin when they are outside, sitting in the shade, and not using tanning beds or lamps.
Home care providers can assist older adults to put on sunscreen as this can be difficult for people with limited mobility or cognitive issues. A home care provider can also help them to choose clothing that protects their skin while still being comfortable for the weather.
If you or an aging loved one are considering homecare in Ashburn, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.
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