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How Seniors Can Prevent Skin Cancer

By Nancy Delwaide, 9:00 am on

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 1 in 57 Canadian men and 1 in 74 Canadian women are expected to develop melanoma in their lifetime. The sun’s damaging rays can be a threat to people of all ages, and the elderly are especially at risk. The staff at Oakville Home Care Assistance has put together a list of some key tips to help protect your senior loved one from getting skin cancer.

Be Aware of Melanoma

Statistics show the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, increases with age, and the average age of diagnosis is 61. Melanoma affects senior men more than senior women, with men over 80 having a risk 3 times higher than women of the same age.

Watch for Unusual Spots

Your loved one should have family members or Oakville caregivers check for any suspicious looking spots on his or her body, particularly those that have gone through any changes. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests a yearly skin cancer screening by a dermatologist. Some drugstores even offer free screenings.

Say No to Indoor UVs

Although it appears safe and simple, your loved one should avoid any form of indoor tanning because it can increase the risk of skin cancer. Researchers have found that any ultraviolet exposure, whether from the sun or tanning beds, can lead to the development of this disease.

Get Vitamin D Elsewhere

Your loved one needs vitamin D to keep bones strong and avoid fractures, but he or she shouldn’t solely rely on the sun to get it. Doctors believe seniors can get plenty of vitamin D by taking a supplement or eating foods like salmon, beef, and milk. Experts don’t advise getting vitamin D from UV radiation.

Use Sunscreen

If your loved one enjoys sunshine, he or she should always apply sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 when going outside. Elderly skin is often dry and delicate, which means your loved one should use water-based sunscreens or chemical-free sunblock, wear a hat and light clothing for extra protection from the sun, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Help your loved one reduce the risk of skin cancer and other ailments by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. We provide numerous services for the elderly, including specialized Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia care for Oakville seniors. To learn more and to request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (905) 337-1200.