Women in their 60‘s have fought demons and faced many challenges in their lives. Over time, we have learned to be self-reliant and show enormous grace under pressure. We pride ourselves in being in control. And yet, there is one health worry that haunts us because it is so prevalent, so apparently random and out of our control – and as a result it is so frightening. Cancer.

Just the word makes you take a breath, silently whisper – please not me. But the truth is that cancer impacts women significantly, with breast, lung and colorectal cancer the three most common types.

While many cancers can now be successfully treated by amazing new technologies and effective medicines and personalized treatment plans, prevention is still the best approach.

According to this article in Lifescience, the American Cancer Society has said that eating more nutritious foods and practicing a healthier lifestyle could in fact prevent 50% of cancer deaths. So, fortunately, women over 60 can reduce the risk of cancer by taking some simple steps in your everyday life. Here are some ideas to discuss with your doctor.

Exercise and Stay Active

Losing weight is not only good for your heart and blood pressure, but it can also reduce your risk of cancer. According to this article from the Baylor Health Care System, the National Cancer Institute, 20-30% of cancers may be related to being overweight and/or getting too little physical exercise. So that is a relatively easy change that can be made – it just takes discipline and desire.

Eat Cancer-Preventing Foods

There are many foods that have been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to this article in AARP.  For example, blueberries with an abundance of anti-oxidants, salmon with omega 3 acids and lots of protein, butternut squash full of beta-carotene and even coffee which can help build a resistance to cancer.

Stop Smoking

According the CDC, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. Many women are surprised to hear this fact, since they might guess that breast cancer is more deadly. But while breast cancer is more common, lung cancer results in more deaths. Smoking is a health hazard. It is the leading cause of lung cancer, as well as a cause of esophageal cancer and many other cancers, not to mention the various risk factors for strokes and heart disease that go with being a smoker.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Skin cancer is another common variation, and there is a very simple lifestyle change that can help eliminate the threat. The strategy is to simply stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and to always use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or above. And remember to wear a gorgeous hat in the sun!

Get Cancer Screenings

Adopting a healthy life style is the best medicine for avoiding cancer, but if a cancer does develop, early detection saves lives. There are many routine cancer screenings that women over 60 should plan to have so that in case you get diagnosed, it will still be early enough to pursue a successful course of treatment.

Talk to your doctor about maintaining a regular schedule for mammograms and breast exams. Also women, aged 50-75 should also be checked regularly for colorectal cancer, using such tests as colonoscopies.

Don’t Drink Too Much

Drinking alcohol is linked with various types of cancer, including that of the liver and esophagus. Like many things, moderation is the goal, so it is good to reduce your risk of alcohol-related cancers by drinking thoughtfully – that means just one drink per day for women.

Are you concerned about your cancer risk? What are some things that you are doing to maintain your personal health and reduce your risk of getting cancer? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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