Understanding Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention for Seniors

home care chicago for seniors

Understanding Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention for Seniors

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that most Americans will be touched by cancer in some form or another. In a study by the NIH, an estimated 2 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States. With this astronomical statistic, it is inevitable that there will be someone in your life who has a brush with cancer at some point.

Understanding cancer risk factors and prevention for seniors is essential not only for keeping yourself healthy, but for supporting others in need. That is precisely why World Cancer Day was created: to raise awareness about prevention, detection, and treatment and fight the various inceptions of the disease. The crux of fighting it? Education.

Understanding Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention for Seniors

Understanding your risks

One’s “cancer risk” is a phrase that is tossed around to describe the chance one has to develop the disease. However, just as most things aren’t, your risk isn’t black and white. Medical personnel actually use two different terms to better understand an individual’s cancer risk: their absolute risk and relative risk.

The absolute risk expresses one’s average chance of developing cancer within a specific time frame. For instance, roughly one in 25 people develop colon cancer. Absolute risk cannot tell you your risk of developing cancer. Rather, it informs you of the average for a population’s risk.

Relative risk, on the other hand, compares one group of people’s risk of developing cancer with another group. Per Cancer.Net, a person with diabetes has a 38% higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than someone without it. This does not mean that someone with diabetes is going to get colorectal cancer 38% of the time. Rather, it means that their chance of developing the condition is 38% higher.

Comparing absolute risk with relative risk can help you determine if you are at a higher risk for cancer—however, the best way to understand your cancer risks is to speak with your doctor. They can speak with you about how to live the healthiest life possible.

What are common risk factors for cancer?

Though every individual is unique, there are certain factors that have proven to be a commonality between cancer cases. These may increase your risk of developing certain forms (but remember—nothing is guaranteed!) Common risk factors include:

  • Personal/family history. If you or a close relative has a history of cancer, your odds are higher of developing the same condition.
  • Aging. Growing older increases our likelihood of developing chronic conditions, being exposed to toxins, or expressing risky behaviors. Each of these can increase our likelihood of developing cancer.
  • Using tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco increases your risk of several different forms of cancer, including lung, throat, and mouth cancer. Stop smoking to decrease your risk.
  • Alcohol use. Excessive drinking increases your risk of mouth, throat, stomach, and other types of cancer. Limiting alcohol consumption will decrease your risk.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight decreases your risk of not only several types of cancer, but heart disease and diabetes (both of which can lead to cancer).
  • Some viral infections. Certain viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis can increase your risk.
  • Exposure to specific chemicals or radiation.

home health aide chicago

What should I ask my doctor about my risk factors?

Knowing what risk factors you have can help you and your healthcare provider establish how to live a healthier lifestyle. It also helps you determine how often you should be scanned for certain types of cancer. To learn more about your likelihood of developing the condition, asking your doctor these questions can be beneficial.

  • What is my chance of developing cancer in the next 5 years?
  • What can I do to lower my risk?
  • If I change my behaviors to eliminate a risk factor, what would my chances of getting cancer in the next few years be?
  • If a close relative develops cancer, how does that impact my risk?
  • Do you recommend any screening tests for me?

The comfort of help at home

In times of illness, the comfort of home becomes paramount. Home Care Powered by AUAF offers a compassionate and nurturing environment where seniors can receive the care they need while maintaining a sense of familiarity and security. Our caregivers are not just professionals—they are companions on the journey to recovery.

Compassionate care tailored for seniors makes a world of difference in their overall well-being—especially those fighting cancer. Our staff is ready to support you and your family through your happiest moments as well as your toughest journeys with our diligent, non-medical care. To learn more about how we can assist you, give us a call at (773) 274-9262. We are happy to help.

Welcome To Home Care


Homecare Agency for Seniors – Home Care Powered by AUAF

Homecare Agency

Contact Request