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4 Ways to Stave Off Colorectal Cancer in the Elderly

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting the elderly. Thankfully, there are a number of actions seniors can take to prevent this disease. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting regular screening tests, seniors have a better chance of preventing colorectal or colon cancer. 

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Toronto, ON, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Here are 4 ways seniors can prevent colorectal cancer. 

1. Adhere to Dietary Guidelines

Seniors can prevent colorectal cancer by following a healthy diet. Elderly people at risk for cancer should limit their intake of red meat and processed meats, which means less bacon, bologna, hamburgers, or steak. This might be a tall order for some meat aficionados, but it’s believed that carcinogens may form when red meat is cooked at high temperatures. Red meat also contains iron, which can damage the DNA. For seniors who eat red meat daily, cutting down is a must. 

After cutting down on red meat consumption, it’s important to replace unhealthy foods with nutritious alternatives. Beans are a good substitute for meat, and fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a preventative diet. People who primarily eat plant-based foods are less likely to develop colon cancer. 

2. Get Regular Screenings

Seniors at risk for colorectal cancer should get regular screening tests. There are a number of options such as a fecal occult blood test, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and virtual colonoscopy. What these tests should involve and how frequently they need to be performed can vary, but they all offer important findings. They help doctors detect cancer while it is still treatable and can also find abnormalities before they turn into cancer. Seniors should talk to their doctors about which screening option is best suited to their needs. 

3. Exercise

While eating right is the key to preventing cancer, it’s also important to maintain an active lifestyle. Physical fitness is an excellent preventive measure against cancer, as it promotes healthy biological effects that help keep the colon healthy. Exercise helps slow the progression of colon cancer, and it can protect the gastrointestinal tract from harmful bile acids. It also boosts overall digestive health, which reduces the risks of colorectal cancer. To get the benefits of physical activity, seniors should try to exercise for at least two hours every week. Seniors with limited mobility can try gentle activities like chair yoga.

If your elderly loved one needs live-care in Toronto, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer a program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to focus on eating nutritious foods, exercising on a regular basis, maintaining strong social ties, and other lifestyle factors known to increase longevity.  

4. Quit Smoking

When people think about the dangers of smoking, lung cancer probably comes to mind first. However, smoking is not merely linked to lung cancer. It can also lead to colorectal cancer. The carcinogens in cigarettes harm the DNA, and as people age their bodies become less able to repair this damage. Seniors who want to stave off colorectal cancer should stop smoking. However, it can be difficult to quit smoking, especially if it’s an old habit. If your loved one has a hard time giving up on smoking, he or she can seek help from medical professionals or support groups. 

Preventing colorectal cancer and other serious ailments is important for seniors who want to age in place. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of hourly care in Toronto. To create a customized care plan for your aging loved one, talk to one of our friendly Care Managers today at (416) 488-8777.