Cancer is a common event in elderly, and its risk increase manifolds with age. Knowing some important things about cancer in the elderly is helpful to take care of family member or a close friend who lives with it.
[Read: Learn about Cancer on your Own]
Things to Know about Cancer in Elderly
1. Why do older people are vulnerable to cancer?
Cancer may be inherited, or caused by persistent exposure to cancer-causing things, such as tobacco smoke. In most cases, everyday damage to our cells/genes that builds up, leads to cancer. Our bodies usually repair and prevent further damage. During old age, body loses repairing ability. As affected cells continue to grow, cancer may develop fast.
2. What are the treatment options for cancer in elderly?
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the treatment options for old age cancer patients. Treatment options are effective only if cancer is identified early. Treatment may not work if disease advances initial stages. Health care provider will conduct a thorough medical examination to make a decision on treatment option. Health problems and medications also affect the cancer treatment patients receive.
[Read: Can Cancer be Cured?]
3. How can old age cancer patients deal with cancer pain?
Bearing pain is one of the biggest challenges before older cancer patients, which gets multiplied with treatment and medications. Health experts prescribe pain relievers, such as NSAIDs to cope with cancer pain. Non-adherence to prescription may lead to complications, such as headaches, constipation and confusion. Powerful pain relievers, such as oxycodone, are considered to be fatal for old patients. Palliative care becomes is advised for old age patients needing help to get rid of pain, distressing symptoms and psychological issues.
4. How to take care of old age cancer patients?
Well-educated and aware caregivers must help patient’s recover from treatment or sustaining health condition. Family members must keep a responsive dialogue with health care provider so that his health condition is never compromised. Cancer patients not just need medical support, but also social and emotional backing.
5. What is the meaning of having to live with cancer in old age?
Don’t leave elderly during their illness. For this, you need to understand how cancer complications are experienced by older people. It is important to encourage elderly during their illness, making them understand about what is meaningful for her/him.
6. How advancement of cancer can be identified in elderly?
Advancement of cancer should be identified with regular screenings, such as chest X-ray, digital examination, mammography and pap smear. The routine screening may also be done along with blood tests, urine tests and medical imaging.
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