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 SeniorsData 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.