Cancer Deaths Declining: How Can You Reduce Your Parent’s Risk?

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Home Care Services in Herndon VAThere’s good news about cancer. The latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows that death rates associated with cancer have gotten lower. The decrease isn’t large, just 1.8 percent in men and 1.4 percent in women, but it is still encouraging. The change is likely due to better detection and improved treatments. In addition, we know more about cancer today than we ever did before, including ways to reduce the risks of getting certain kinds of cancer, such as those listed below.

Avoid Tobacco Use and Cigarette Smoke

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of cancer deaths is lung cancer. The majority of lung cancer is caused by smoking cigarettes. In fact, people who smoke are at a 25 times higher risk of dying from lung cancer than people who do not smoke. In addition to lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for several other kinds of cancer, including cancer of the:

  • Mouth.
  • Throat.
  • Pancreas.
  • Bladder.
  • Larynx.
  • Cervix.
  • Kidney.
  • Colon.
  • Rectum.
  • Esophagus.

Even if your elderly parent doesn’t smoke, being around people who do increases their risk for developing cancer by up to 30 percent.

Protect Skin from the Sun

Skin cancer is another extremely common form of cancer. It’s also one of the more preventable forms. You can help your parent avoid it by ensuring they use sunscreen whenever they are exposed to the sun’s rays. They should also wear clothing that helps to protect their skin when they are outside, including a wide brimmed hat to shield the face, neck, and ears. Staying in the shade as much as possible also helps.

Stick to a Healthy Diet

What your parent eats can make a big difference in their overall health, including cancer risk. Choosing a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can decrease the risk of cancer and help those who are overweight to reach a healthy weight. Scientific research indicates that being overweight increases the chances of getting certain kinds of cancer, including colorectal cancer.

Home care can help your parent to make lifestyle changes that will decrease their cancer risks. A home care provider can assist with planning and preparing healthy meals that feature plant-based foods and limit unhealthy ingredients, like saturated and trans fats. Home care providers can also remind the older adult to use sunscreen and help them to apply it, if necessary. Finally, home care providers can offer transportation to medical appointments for checkups and cancer screenings.

If you or an aging loved one is considering home care services in Herndon, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.