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5 Ways to Reduce a Senior’s Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, and 90 percent of all cases are found in adults aged 50 and above. However, it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer if detected early. It’s important for seniors to take certain steps to reduce their risk of cancer and maintain a high quality of life.

Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Anchorage, AK, home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Professional home care experts discuss 5 ways to reduce a senior’s risk of colorectal cancer.

1. Get Regular Screenings

Regular screening for colorectal cancer is a must once a person reaches age 50. Doctors can look for symptoms such as polyps and remove them before they can cause problems. Early discovery and treatment of colorectal cancer can also lead to a longer lifespan. Some common screenings include colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, fecal occult blood tests, stool DNA tests, and barium enemas. Talk to a doctor about which tests are best for your loved one.

2. Stop Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol increases the risk for numerous types of cancer, including colorectal. For this reason, it is important for your loved one to stop or at least reduce his or her daily consumption. Encourage your loved one to have no more than one drink per day such as a glass of red wine, which may contain heart-healthy antioxidants.

3. Quit Smoking

Smoking increases the risk for lung cancer, but is also one of the top causes of colorectal and other digestive cancers. There are no health benefits to smoking, so seniors should make an attempt to quit cigarettes forever. Encourage your loved one to seek help from support groups or talk to his or her doctor about the right way to quit smoking.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases the risk for numerous health conditions, including colorectal cancer. Seniors should take some steps to get healthy and shed those extra pounds. They can switch to a nutritious diet with lean proteins, fresh fruits, and nutrient-rich vegetables, cut down processed food, and drink plenty of water. Seniors should also try getting at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day. Regular exercise helps seniors lose weight, and those who exercise regularly can reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. Some seniors may require assistance with diet and exercise.

If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Anchorage, AK, 24-hour care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.

5. Change the Diet

There are some foods that increase the risk of colorectal cancer and others that decrease it. Examine your loved one’s diet to see if he or she eats too many foods in the first category and too few in the second. Seniors should cut back on red meat, as studies have shown that it may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Foods processed with sodium nitrates such as hot dogs, deli meat, and some bacon may also invite colorectal cancer. Instead, your loved one can opt for fiber-rich foods like beans, lentils, nuts, and oatmeal to help keep the digestive system on track. Try increasing your loved one’s intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and add bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and green beans to his or her diet.

Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Anchorage families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. Call Home Care Assistance at (907) 770-0907 to work out a customized care plan for your senior loved one.