Cancer is a potentially deadly disease that does not discriminate based on a person's age, sex, ethnicity, or social status. Though anyone can get cancer, the National Institute on Aging notes that a person's risk of getting cancer increases with age, even if that person has no family history of cancer. That reality highlights the importance of routine cancer screenings for men and women age 50 and older.
While screenings are an important part of detecting and treating cancer, those over 50 should know they can take certain measures to possibly prevent the onset of cancer. For example, including certain foods as part of a regular diet may be effective at preventing cancer. Though there's no way to guarantee a person won't get cancer, the following foods may help lower the risk.
* Blueberries: Blueberries may help prevent the onset of neck and mouth cancers. That's because blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which the American Institute for Cancer Research notes can protect cells from being damaged.
* Coffee: Though studies about the efficacy of coffee as a potentially preventive agent against cancer are ongoing, some studies have found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can lower a person's risk of developing colon, endometrial and prostate cancer.
* Whole grains: Whole grains can help men and women control their weight, as they are lower in calories than more traditional options. But studies have shown that whole grains, which can be found in whole-grain and whole-wheat pastas, can also reduce your risk of colon cancer.
* Tomatoes: Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a carotenoid that numerous studies have indicated can reduce incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. These studies have based their findings on tomato consumption and not on the use of lycopene supplements, which may or may not be effective at preventing cancer. Cooked tomatoes can improve the body's ability to absorb lycopene, further enhancing its ability to protect the body against cancer.
* Fatty fish: Fatty fish, including salmon, that is full of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a host medical benefits, including lowering a person's risk of cancer and heart disease.