World Cancer Day: Reducing the Risk of Cancer in the Elderly

Cancer is one of the biggest health risks across the world. Unfortunately, as people get older, their risk of being affected by cancer increases.

This month will see the annual World Cancer Day. It is held on February 4th 2017, and it is a global event that unites people across the globe in the fight against cancer.

Here’s a guide to what it involves along with how you can help to reduce the risk of an elderly friend or relative suffering from cancer.

What Is World Cancer Day?

World Cancer Day was established in 2000 with the aim of highlighting the risks of cancer and increasing awareness of the disease.

Its main objective, according to its website, is to get people talking about the disease and spread awareness of it. 8.2 million people die from cancer each year, 4 million of whom die prematurely (aged 30 to 69). The day aims to save lives by spreading awareness about the disease to prevent more deaths.

It increases awareness through education, putting pressure on governments, and encouraging people to hold events to highlight the problem of cancer.

How to Get Involved

The best way to get involved is to run a campaign to raise awareness of cancer. You could even do a sponsored event to raise money for a cancer charity. If a friend or relative of yours suffers from cancer, this can be a good way to show your support for them.

You could also find out about any events taking place in your area and go along to get involved and show your support. This might even be a fun social event for your elderly relative, and you could go along together.

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However, you could also simply share information about the date on social media. You might want to join the Thunderclap campaign on social media to help the message trend, which you can find out more about on the website.

Simply talking about cancer more is one of the main objectives of the day, so even if you don’t hold an event or get involved, one thing you could do is talk to an elderly friend or relative about the risks. You might encourage them to look out for the signs of cancer more regularly.

Why Cancer Is an Issue for Elderly People

According to statistics, age is the biggest risk factor of all when it comes to being affected by cancer. In fact, 60% of people with cancer are aged 65 or older.

In addition, cancer can often be more complicated in older people due to other health conditions that are more common in the elderly.

It therefore makes good sense to discuss the risks of cancer and take actions that help to prevent cancer in the elderly.

Cancer Prevention Tips

If you have an elderly friend of relative, perhaps someone you help to care for, talk about the risks of cancer with them.

If they smoke, you might want to help them to quit. Quitting even later in life can still make a big difference to their health.

If you feel they drink too much alcohol, this can be another risk area. Perhaps bring up the topic and encourage them to drink less.

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You can also help them to eat a healthy and balanced diet. They might have difficulty preparing food on their own, and if so you could help them to prepare meals. Or you may want to hire a care worker who can help with preparing healthy food and sharing meals with them.

Regular exercise is another great way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of cancer. We wrote a guide on home exercises for the elderly that might be helpful

Another common practice to reduce the risk of colon cancer is to get a colonoscopy every 10 years once they are over the age of 50. If they have not done this before, perhaps you can help them to arrange it.

If they have moles on their skin, encourage them to check these regularly. Encourage them to look out for changes, growths and irregular shapes, and always advise them to see their doctor if they notice any changes.

Useful Resources:

World Cancer Day website: http://www.worldcancerday.org/

Cancer prevention advise: http://www.mcancer.org/cancer-prevention

Information about ageing and cancer: http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/older-adults/aging-and-cancer