Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complicated disease that affects around 1 million people in the United States. It is a lifelong disease that has no cure. Unfortunately, in addition to being difficult to live with, a new study indicates that having MS may also increase the chances of getting cancer.
The Cancer and MS Study
The study was led by Norwegian scientists and involved about 55,000 people. Approximately 7,000 of the participants had MS. 9,000 of them had siblings with MS but did not have MS themselves. 38,000 people did not have MS and were not related to people with MS. All of the participants had been born between 1930 and 1979.
The results of the study showed that the participants with MS had an approximately 12 percent higher risk for all kinds of cancers. However, when they looked at specific kinds of cancers, MS appeared to make the risk for some of them much higher. For example, cancers of the nervous system had a 50 percent higher risk.
Even more interesting than the increased risk of cancer in people with MS was that the participants who had a sibling with MS had an 80 percent higher risk of developing blood cancers, like leukemia. The researchers speculate that this could have something to do with shared genes and environmental factors, suggesting there could be a risk between MS and cancer.
Ways to Lower Cancer Risk
If your aging relative has MS, you can help them to take steps to reduce overall cancer risks. Some of the things experts suggest for lowering the chances of getting cancer are:
Get Screened: There are screenings available for some kinds of cancers. While getting screened may not lower the chances of getting cancer, they can allow for early detection, increasing the odds of a good treatment outcome.
Exercise: Regular exercise decreases the risks of many common kinds of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight increases the risk of several kinds of cancer. If the older adult is overweight, encourage them to lose the extra weight.
Healthy Diet: The American Cancer Society recommends eating a diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry.
The good news about the steps for reducing cancer risks is that they also help to lower the risk of many other kinds of diseases, including heart disease.
Want some more good news? Senior care can help your aging relative with every one of these steps. A senior care provider can assist them to schedule appointments for screenings and offer transportation to and from the medical facility. Senior care providers can also encourage them to be more physically active by involving them in activities around the house and yard, going for walks with them, or driving them to an exercise class or the gym. As for a healthy diet, senior care providers can cook for your loved one to ensure they have fresh, balanced meals that contain healthy ingredients instead of a lot of processed foods.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable Home Health Care in Braselton, GA, and surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.