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How Obesity Increases a Senior’s Risk of Cancer

By Mark Silvanic, 9:00 am on

Obese people have a greater risk of developing numerous diseases including arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. With that in mind, researchers also believe that obesity may contribute to malignant cell growth associated with several forms of cancer. Seniors who struggle with obesity are particularly susceptible to cancer not only because of their weight, but because they have had prolonged exposure to other environmental or congenital factors linked to the disease. Home care providers in Colorado Springs encourage families to learn more about this correlation and what their senior loved ones can do to reduce their risk of the disease.

How Are Obesity and Cancer Related?

Estrogen stimulates cell division and growth. Similarly, cancer use estrogen in much the same way: fatty tissue accumulates estrogen that causes fat cells to produce and release leptin and other adipokine hormones that stimulate cell growth. The cells are also found to contain the compounds activated by protein kinase (AMP) and rapamycin, which regulate malignant cell production and reproduction associated with cancer.

Obese seniors often have increased insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the blood, which causes insulin resistance and is believed to encourage tumor development. Physicians find that obese seniors are also commonly afflicted with chronic but mild inflammatory processes that take a toll on the immune system and contribute to free radical oxidation, which can lead to malignant cell production. 

How Can Seniors Reduce Their Risk of Cancer?

Diets that are high in fat and low in fiber not only support weight gain, but are also linked to the production of estrogen and other hormones that cancer cells use as fuel. Nutritionists recommend adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to daily meals as a source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Seniors should also eat lean meats or remove excess fat while preparing the meal. Nutritionists also suggest that seniors make an effort to substitute legumes, nuts and seeds as a source of protein instead of meat. Cooking with fats and oils like lard or butter should be limited, and processed foods that contain nitrites and other chemicals should be consumed sparingly. 

Nutrition and exercise play a vital role in cancer prevention, and seniors may need help eating properly or exercising regularly. Home Care Assistance can ensure your loved one maintains his or her health with the help of our patented Balanced Care Method. This structured program encourages healthy lifestyle choices including diet and physical exercise to promote senior longevity. Call a knowledgeable Care Manager today at (719) 822-1229 to schedule your complimentary consultation.