February 4th, World Cancer Day, is much more than honoring those who have lost their lives to cancer. The 2021 theme “I am and I will” inspires a call-to-action, a focus on raising the awareness of cancer, its symptoms, and impacts. Today we are asked to make a commitment to promote ongoing research, make a donation and start being a part of cancer education. Sixty percent of cancer diagnoses occur in the 65 and older population making awareness of cancer symptoms in older adults crucial.
Comorbidities in older adults, such as hypertension, COPD, or diabetes complicate making a definite cancer diagnosis. Medical experts are challenged when cognitive impairment and functional loss, both results of the aging process, are present and could be symptoms of cancer.
Cancer Trends in Seniors
Data indicates older populations reflect the cancer trends of younger populations. Men are primarily affected by prostate or lung cancer. Older women are impacted significantly by breast or lung cancer. Colorectal cancer, a leading cause of death, is present in men and women. Stay informed and recognize the early warning signs of cancer.
Symptoms of Prostate cancer may include painful urination, frequent urges to urinate, blood in urine, or loss of bladder control. Lung cancer warning signs often are a lasting cough, hoarseness, shortness of breath, wheezing, or frequent respiratory infections. Breast cancer indicators could be an increase in the size and shape of a breast, the appearance of any size lump or nodule, and pain in or near the breast tissue. It is life changing when these signs are recognized early .
Fatigue is a common display in every form of cancer and a natural part of the aging process. Physicians may choose to use a multidisciplinary approach to study age, mental and physical health to determine the cause of lingering tiredness. Paying attention to one’s fatigue severity is important. Clinicians use specially formulated assessment tools when analyzing an exhausted Senior.
Pain is a universal cancer symptom. Although the severity of pain may not vary among age groups the perception of pain itself does. Communication is essential with loved ones should they experience unusual or sudden discomfort. Pinpoint how often the pain occurs, where, and its intensity to help make an accurate diagnosis.
Numerous other symptoms occur with cancer. These may be noticed on skin … itchiness, crusty patches, or a mole changing in size. Jaundiced or a yellow skin tone is a serious indicator of liver cancer. A lingering loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, or abnormal bleeding should be considered suspicious and reported to a physician.
Meet with A Healthcare Professional
Regular health visits are a must for Seniors. Annual exams help in identifying and treating cancer should it be found. Every change, small or large, is important in cancer. Consider all risks, medical conditions, and treatment options. No one should ever be alone in this journey. Support and informative resources are available to explore. A first step is to contact the American Cancer Society in your area by going to www.cancer.org
Bridge to Better Living takes into account every health need when assisting Seniors and their loved ones transition to a new lifestyle. Their motto Placement with Passion ®is defined by a dedication to the importance of recognizing and meeting the needs of each individual client. Bridge to Better Living cares about YOU.