During National Cancer Prevention Month, one of the most important steps seniors in assisted living homes can take is to reduce their risk of developing cancer. Unfortunately, as a senior, it is not easy to come up with the time and energy needed to go through research and therapy. Assisted living homes need to provide informative sessions on cancer risk factors, what they can do daily, and ways to reduce their risk of developing these diseases. This post will cover 13 helpful tips for seniors in assisted living homes to make them aware of what to do to prevent cancer.


1. Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies are the most important sources of vitamins A and C.

Vitamin C is the essential nutrient required to protect your cells against damage caused by chemotherapeutic drugs. Also, vitamin A helps your body fight off infections. The more fresh fruits and vegetables you eat, the less chance of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.


2. Lower Your Alcohol Consumption

Various types of cancers are caused by alcohol consumption. According to the National Cancer Institute, those include liver, throat, and breast cancer. The risk of getting cancer from alcohol is greatly increased in those with a family history of the disease. If you drink alcohol, the only way to prevent cancer is by drinking in moderation.


3. Reduce Your Consumption of Processed Meat

According to the National Cancer Institute, processed meat is meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, or salting, and it increases the risk of colorectal cancer. So, it is advised that you reduce your consumption of processed meat.


4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing diseases, including certain cancers. In addition, the more body fat an individual has, the higher the risk of developing some cancers. So, to avoid getting cancer, you need to maintain a healthy weight.


5. Keep Your Body Active

Being physically active has numerous benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The more active you are, the less likely you will develop cancer. Therefore, seniors in assisted living homes must be physically active daily.


6. Avoid Unprotected Sun Exposure

The majority of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. To prevent this type of cancer, wear protective clothing and an umbrella during the hot summer months and apply sunscreen before going outside in the sun. Too much sun exposure will also increase your risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.


7. Schedule Regular Doctor Visits

During National Cancer Prevention Month, seniors in assisted living homes must know what to do daily to minimize their cancer risk. That is why they need to maintain a regular doctor visit schedule, which includes annual medical exams. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that the best age for a first annual exam is between ages 50 and 65. However, many factors affect this decision.


8. Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet

Changing your diet to a healthy one is an easy way to lower the risk of developing cancer. However, changing your diet doesn’t mean that you need to eliminate your favorite foods. It just means reducing the amount of meat and dairy you eat. Also, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, providing the essential nutrients and antioxidants that protect your cells against damage caused by free radicals.

A senior man holding a bowl of fruits


9. Quitting Smoking

The lungs are the most common body parts affected by smoking. Unfortunately, this is especially true if you have a family history of lung cancer or have been exposed to secondhand smoke at work, home, or public places. If you’re a smoker, it is important to quit smoking because once you give up smoking, your risk of lung cancer will decrease significantly.


10. Get Regularly Screened for Cancer

Early detection of cancer leads to better treatments and outcomes. As such, seniors in assisted living homes must get screened for cancer yearly. Your doctor can provide information about what screening tests are available and which ones you should have done every year. Also, your doctor can recommend the best treatment if a screening test indicates cancer.


11. Avoid Dietary Supplements with Selenium

According to a study by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, cancer survivors may develop various cancers due to excessive cancer supplements. Selenium, for example, acts as an antioxidant that slows down the progression of cancer cells and prevents damage caused by free radicals. However, although selenium has health benefits, it can also cause adverse side effects when taken in excess.


12. Limit Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases your risk of developing various types of cancer, including pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers. Also, children who consume large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages have a higher chance of developing leukemia. The best way to avoid drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened drinks is to limit consumption and increase the amount of water you drink.


13. Practice Proper Oral Care and Dental Hygiene

Poor oral health increases the risk of developing various types of cancer in the mouth, including tongue cancer. However, taking proper care of your teeth is easy.

You can start by:

  •       brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  •       flossing every day
  •       seeing your dentist regularly to check for cavities and other oral problems


Focus on Wellness at Senior Living

National Cancer Prevention Month is a monthly awareness initiative in the United States. It encourages people to take action to prevent and reduce their risk of developing or dying from cancer. As such, seniors in assisted living homes need to be aware of what they can do daily to prevent cancer.

When it comes to mental and physical health, the Wellness and Happiness factors play a vital role. Wellness is about our physical health, and happiness is about our intellectual, psychological, and social pursuits. Check our website for more information about these factors and their role in senior assisted living facilities.