Cancer is draining! There is no overstating how exhaustive and painful the cycle is. The best way to deal with cancer is prevention and early detection. We must also understand the threats and outcomes of the treatments. Particularly, the senior citizens must be cared for because both prostate and ovarian cancer attack later in life. The early cancer is detected, the easier it is to cure. To share understandable and accurate information these two, Dr. Shivali Ahlawat, MD, DNB Pathology. Lab Director- Oncquest Laboratories (National Reference Lab), Gurugram compiled particulars related to risk factors, symptoms, and prevention. Before we dive in, we request the readers to never take any symptom for granted, you must be vigilant to stay safe.
The awareness about gender-specific cancer is shockingly low, especially in men. Considering the awareness movement for ovarian cancer, people are no longer a stranger to it. But in, the lack of prostate cancer awareness is surprising. Studies suggest that prostate cancer has a deep emotional bearing. Despite that, the knowledge the common people should have about the condition is significantly less. Prostate cancer is among the most common kind of cancer. Some prostate cancers are extremely aggressive in nature and spread rapidly, on the other hand, some grow very slowly and remain confined to the prostate gland itself. The latter do not cause serious harm if detected early.
When prostate cancer gets detected while it is still in the gland, it gets treated successfully more often than not. Here’s how you can detect early -
- Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder
- Problem in starting or stopping urination
- Frequent urination, mostly during night
- Burning sensation during ejaculation or urination
- Erectile dysfunction
Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:
Ageing- Cancer is so scary because the risk factors can't be controlled. As men age, they become more prone to cancer. The case comprehensively increases as men turn 50.
Family history- If any of your blood relatives, like your parent, sibling, grandparent, and so on, had prostate cancer, you are also at risk. If your family has a history of breast cancer, there are higher chances of you getting prostate cancer.
Obesity- The result of some studies on this topic are mixed, but the number suggests that obese people are more prone to get prostate cancer. In their case, the disease is relatively aggressive.
- You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer if you adapt to a healthy lifestyle. Add veggies and fruits to your diet, a variety of them. Take whole grains.
- Supplements will not help you as much as healthy foods will. As of now, no studies have suggested that vitamin and mineral supplements can prevent prostate cancer. If you want to reduce your chances, healthy food is the right way.
- Staying fit is really important. You do not need to hit the gym and crunch bone-crushing weight. Exercising for 20 minutes to maintain overall health is good enough. Five days in a week is a good number. If you have not worked your body in a long time, it is suggested to start slow and take it from there.
- It is crucial to maintain a healthy weight. There are many benefits of having a healthy body weight. If you are overweight other than BP and heart risks, you are also prone to prostate cancer. Take the route of exercising and diet to make things work out in your favour.
The female body is much more complex than a male body. Even factors and symptoms of cancers are more complex. Here is a brief but comprehensive overview of ovarian cancer's symptoms, risk factors, and prevention.
- Difficulty in eating
- Abdominal pain
- Upset stomach
Some more symptoms that can suggest that you have ovarian cancer –
- Extreme tiredness
- Upset stomach
- Pain during intercourse
- Heavy or irregular bleeding
- Infrequent period cycle
- Weight loss but swelling in the belly
Risk factors of ovarian cancer
- Using fertility treatment- IVF, which is a fertility treatment, has been observed to increase the risk of ‘borderline’ a type of ovarian tumor.
Having had breast cancer- If you have breast cancer, you have a higher chance of getting ovarian cancer. It has been observed that women with a family history of breast cancer had higher chances of developing ovarian cancer.
Smoking- Smoking does not only affect your lungs, it increases the risk of cancer in general, which includes ovarian cancer since it is associated with acceleration of mutational tendency.
Age- Similar to prostate cancer, the risk of ovarian cancer also increases as you age. In majority of cases, cancer develops after the menopause. Over 50% of ovarian cancer cases were found in women over 63.
History of ovarian cancer- If someone in your family had ovarian cancer, there is a higher chance that you might develop cancer as well.
1. Exercise and Diet
To keep cancer at bay, you need to keep a healthy lifestyle. Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Avoid unhealthy food. Work your body 20 minutes a day for five days a week. Increase gradually according to your body and age.
2. Oral Contraceptives
If you had hormone-related issues which made you use oral contraceptives, you are less significantly prone to develop ovarian cancer. The longer medicine is taken is directly proportional to the risk of getting cancer.
3. Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Mothers who breastfed their kids before they turned 30 are less likely to get ovarian cancer.
Cancer is a terrible condition. It affects not just the patient but the entire family. It is mentally, physically, and financially draining for everyone involved. Hence it is important not only to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms but also to get routine checkups done to detect any early signs of cancer, so that it can be readily treated.
These are the two common cancers that senior citizens are prone to suffering from. It is very important to spread awareness about these so that these can be prevented. The increasing cases of cancer due to different reasons is a matter of concern and so, it is important that people know everything about them.
Image credits- freepik