Cancer: A Special Concern For Older Adults
Cancer risk is a special concern for older adults, as age is the most consistent and strongest predictor of risk. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among older adults in the US, after heart disease. Nearly 50 percent of all cancers occur in 13 percent of the population that is age 65 or older.
- Females over the age of 65 are in the fastest growing age group for lung cancer, with a whopping 125 percent increase each year.
- Prostate cancer increases in men over the age of 50.
- Cancer risk for African American men is 25 percent higher than the rest of the population.
- Endometrial cancer occurs most often in women over the age of 50.
- Breast cancer can occur at any age but becomes more common as a woman gets older.
Know the signs of cancer
Finding a cancer early before it has spread gives you the best chance of being treated successfully. Know the symptoms and tell your doctor if you experience any of them. While cancer is not the only explanation for these symptoms, it is best to have your doctor determine the cause.
The cancer warning signs are:
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- A sore that does not heal
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
- Thickening or lump in breast or elsewhere
- Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
- Obvious change in a wart or mole
- Nagging cough or hoarseness
A healthy diet and physical activity
The American Cancer Society confirms scientific evidence that a healthy diet and exercise can help prevent cancer and cancer death. No matter when you start, you will begin to be healthier and reduce your cancer risk.
- Eat five or more servings of fruits and
vegetables each day.
- Eat other foods from plant sources: breads, cereals, grains, rice, pasta, beans several times a day.
- Choose low-fat foods.
- Limit consumption of meats, especially high-fat meats.
- Be at least moderately active for 30 minutes or more each day.
- Stay within your healthy weight range.
- Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, if you drink at all.
Cancer tests can help find cancer early
Long before any symptoms occur, cancer tests can detect cancer. Early detection provides better chances for a cure. Ask your doctor about cancer testing at your next physical checkup.
Tests for men and women for colon and rectum cancer
- Rectal exam
- Guaiac stool test
- Sigmoidoscopy or procto test
Tests for men for prostate cancer
- Digital rectal exam
Tests for women for breast, cervical, ovarian, endometrial cancer
- For breast — breast-self exam and mammogram
- For cervical — the Pap test
- For ovarian — periodic pelvic exam by your physician
- For endometrial — tissue sample or biopsy for high-risk menopausal wome
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