Things such as a lump or a mole could be an early warning sign of cancer for millions of people around the world. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death across the world and World Health Organization reports that cancer killed 8.8 million people globally in 2015.
Since 2000, February 4 has been known as World Cancer Day and has brought an opportunity to unite citizens and professional advocates and highlight the importance of cancer research, treatment and care. World Cancer Day’s 2016–2018 campaign theme “We can. I can.” is a call for individuals and everyone together as a whole to take action to help reduce the impacts of cancer on the world. It is encouraged that every person works to make healthy lifestyle choices and follow early detection steps.
Aging is one of the biggest risks for cancer; here are some steps seniors and their family members can take to help prevent and fight against cancer and its effects:
Screen for early detection. Regular screenings help pinpoint cancer in people who show no symptoms. Being proactive about screening gives you the best odds for beating cancer when tumors are small and have not spread or metastasized to other regions of the body. The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening tests for certain cancers based on age and gender for anyone older than 50:
- Men – colon, prostate and lung
- Women – breast, cervical, colon and lung
Be sure to talk with your physician about your individual health history and risks for cancer.
Be intentional about staying healthy. The air you breathe, the foods you eat and the genes you inherit all affect your likelihood of getting cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund “estimates that about 20 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.” The beneficial news is that you can help limit your cancer risk by avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, and keeping a healthy weight throughout your lifetime. Choosing more plant-based foods in your diet can also boost your body’s immunity to certain cancers. Other cancer preventatives include wearing sunscreen and reducing your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Seek professional assistance for at-home cancer recovery. The comforts of home increase in importance for many cancer patients. During and after cancer treatment, patients may benefit most with a home care team that includes a registered dietician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, nurse, professional caregiver and home health aide. Moorings Home Health offers highly trained and licensed caregivers to help with everyday tasks including bathing, dressing, cooking, medication reminders and transportation to appointments.
Connect with national cancer resources and support groups. Several different resources and groups aimed at support are available across the U.S. for cancer patients and their families to work with in dealing with their emotional, spiritual, financial and other care needs. Some of these include:
- The American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org, 1-800-227-2345
- Cancer Care, www.cancercare.org, 1-800-813-HOPE (4673)
- Cancer Net (American Society of Clinical Oncology), https://www.cancer.net, 888-651-3038
- The National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/resources-for, 1-800-4-CANCER
- The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/SupportGroups.html, 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636)