Oct 5, 2017 by Kristina Butler
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you are in search of some ideas of how to address breast cancer risks and increase the safety of your senior loved one, consider these recommendations.
Routine. From puberty onward, women should check their breasts for lumps and unusual pain or tenderness every month. While men are less likely to contract breast cancer, a monthly check does not hurt, but it may save their life. Once a woman reaches menopause, her annual routine should include a mammogram. Routine checks will not prevent breast cancer, but, if caught in time, the survival rate of breast cancer is very high and improving every year.
Stop smoking. According to Breastcancer.org, smoking is "linked to a higher risk of breast cancer...[and] there may be a link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer." In other words, women who do not smoke and have limited exposure to second-hand smoke have a reduced risk of breast cancer. This is important since one in eight American women are impacted by breast cancer each year. Reducing risks is even more important for women who have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer, because their risk is already double.
Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption increases a woman's chances of getting breast cancer. Just three alcoholic beverages a week increases the risk of cancer by 15 percent. Worse, Breastcancer.org notes, "Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day."
Stay active. Regular exercise not only lowers the production of estrogen, which is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, but it helps build and strengthen the body's immune system. A strong and healthy immune system can slow or even fight off the growth of cancer cells. Regular exercise also helps keep off the extra pounds, and overweight seniors have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Many seniors desire to make these positive changes in their lives but have a hard time due to limitations in their daily lives. In most of these cases, in-home health care can make a significant difference. For example, Comfort Keepers in-home health care is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and provides services ranging from light housekeeping and laundry to meal preparation, running errands, and companionship.
Seniors who have a hard time starting or sticking to a smoking cessation program, eating a healthy diet, or exercising regularly, often find the physical and emotional support of an in-home health care provider can be the catalyst they need. When it comes to reducing the risk of breast cancer, it could be the spark that saves their lives.
For more information about breast cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or the many benefits of in-home health care, contact a Comfort Keepers senior care coordinator today.
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