In 2020 alone, there were at least 18.1 million cancer cases and the thing is, a fair number of cancer cases are preventable. This is why cancer awareness is so important, especially among seniors. Prevention tactics and early detection can save lives. February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and it is a time to raise awareness about cancer, support those with an active diagnosis, hear stories of those in remission, and learn more about the small things that you can do to protect yourself from preventable cancers.
There are a variety of options that seniors can turn to for cancer prevention, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding exposure to cancer-causing agents. There are also many ways to raise awareness about cancer prevention, such as holding events and fundraisers, donating to cancer research foundations, and writing letters to local newspapers sharing stories that need to be heard.
We’re going to discuss why cancer prevention and awareness are important, the most common cancers found in older adults, and a few things seniors can do to be aware of what’s preventable. Keep reading as we give ideas on how to celebrate Cancer Prevention Month and how you can raise awareness as a senior living in Florida.
Why Cancer Prevention and Awareness Is Important
Cancer prevention awareness can help reduce the incidence of cancer as well as mortality rates. There are many different types of cancer, each with its own set of risk factors and the thing to keep in mind is that cancer can be prevented by simply making healthy lifestyle choices…..in some cases.
Making small changes in your daily life can have a big impact on your cancer risk. For example, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise can all help reduce your risk of developing cancer…when preventable. One of the most important things for seniors to do is to have regular physical exams and to have regular screenings for different types of cancer especially those that a senior may be predisposed to such as by genetic factors based on family history.
Whatever you do, take this month as an opportunity to learn more about how you can prevent cancer and make a difference in the fight against it. These are only a few of the reasons why cancer awareness is so important.
The Most Common Cancers Found in Older Adults
There are different types of cancer, but some are more common in older adults. A few examples of these are;
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate Cancer
Anywhere between 30% and 50% of all cancer cases are preventable and most of the time, cancer is diagnosed in those lacking a frequent record of their family history or knowledge about what they may be at risk for. This is why awareness months exist, to express the importance of learning more about what you may be susceptible to or have greater exposure to. The majority of skin cancers, for example, are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas which account for at least 90% of cancers. This month is to learn and understand more about melanoma as well, another type of skin cancer that is more dangerous if not caught early although it is one of the less common skin cancer types.
Knowing things like this can save lives and protect seniors from things that could be avoidable.
Cancer Prevention: A Few Things That Seniors Can Do
Reducing your cancer risk doesn’t have to be difficult. A lot of the best prevention tactics revolve around lifestyle choices and changes such as having a more balanced diet and being intentional about what you are around daily such as tobacco use.
There are also a few different things that you can do such as taking Vitamin D supplements which are said to have some cancer-prevention properties in their makeup. The same goes for other supplement options like;
- Vitamins A, E, and C
- Beta Carotene
- Vitamin K3
You could also explore more holistic approaches and try a more natural route of prevention. Things like green tea, turmeric, ginger, and flaxseed, are suspected to be linked with cancer prevention. Of course, the best prevention is having a maintained schedule of cancer screenings but you should always talk with your physician as a senior so that you can determine the best course of action for your specific risk factors.
Don’t forget about other things such as limiting your alcohol consumption, wearing sunscreen when exposed to sunlight, and avoiding exposure to cancer-causing agents whenever possible. This includes tobacco smoke and UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds which are all important things for seniors living in Florida to know. By following these simple tips, seniors can reduce their risk of developing cancer and share more knowledge and awareness about it with others.
How to Celebrate Cancer Prevention Month and Raise Awareness in Florida
One way to celebrate Cancer Prevention Month is to participate in events and fundraisers or to coordinate your own. For seniors living in Florida, as of 2023, there will be a variety of events that you can participate in and the best part about it is that many of these events could also be a great opportunity to follow up with fitness or to allow you to be more social within your community. A few great events coming up this year are;
- 2023 Pan-Florida Challenge Cancer Ride; Sat, Mar 25 – Sun, Mar 26
- 2023 Lung Run/Walk SW Florida; February 25 @ 6:30 am – 10:00 am CST
- 2023 runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend; 4/13/23 – 4/16/23 5:00 am hosted by the American Cancer Society
These events are great ways to raise money for cancer research foundations and to show your support for those who have been affected by cancer. You can also wear wristbands or other paraphernalia to show your support for cancer prevention regardless of whether you are actively participating in an event.
As a senior living in Florida, the best thing to keep in mind is that cancer prevention month shouldn’t only be thought of for one month. Cancer doesn’t affect people for just 4 weeks out of the year, it’s an ongoing concern and an ongoing initiative across the globe and unfortunately, it is for everyone and all ages. Support, awareness, and enhancing your knowledge is an active choice, and being active within this initiative is important for not only yourself but everyone.