Seven-million Americans aged 65 or older are living with cancer. Many will have to undergo harsh treatments and surgeries, but there are ways to help improve the odds of treatment success. There are four simple cancer-fighting strategies.
Barbara Owen, 79, is a two-time cancer survivor. First it was a tumor on her kidney, then three years ago, lung cancer.
"At the time it hit me, it was sudden." she explained.
Barbara's 90-year-old husband Bill was also diagnosed with lymphoma five years ago.
"I stayed with him and then he stayed with me," said Barbara.
How can you improve your survival odds? First, eat broccoli. A recent study found breast cancer survivors who consumed 150 grams of cruciferous veggies a day were 42 percent less likely to die from their cancer and 19 percent less likely to have a recurrence.
"Cabbage and broccoli and cauliflower are all cruciferous vegetables… full of a gazillion phytochemicals that create inhospitable environment that make it hard for cancer cells to grow, particularly breast cancer," said Rebecca Katz, MS, a nutritional educator.
Also, try turmeric supplements. A UCLA study showed the ingredient, found in curry, boosts the effects of chemo and helps slow cancer growth.
Another strategy is strength training. Chemo can cause women to lose as much bone density in one year as the average woman would in 10.
Don't forget to up your vitamin D. A Harvard study found lung cancer patients who had the highest intake of vitamin D more than doubled their survival rate after surgery.
Barbara and Bill say staying active has helped them, but their biggest cancer fighting weapon they say is taking care of one another.
Experts say make sure you talk to your doctor first about your diet and exercise plans. Everyone is different and you may have to modify your program or take it easy, depending on what type of treatments you are receiving.