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Why Cancer Screening Is So Important to Senior Health

Statistical data indicates that as people age, they become more susceptible to various medical conditions. This is especially true of cancer. Seniors over the age of 65 make up 60 percent of patients diagnosed with malignant tumors. This is why it’s important for providers of at-home care in Columbus to encourage the seniors in their care to regularly screen for cancer.

Approximately 70 percent of deaths related to cancer are retirement age or older. While an estimated 208 out of every 100,000 people under the age of 65 receive a diagnosis of cancer, the number rises dramatically to 1,068 out of every 100,000 people after retirement. For this reason, it’s important that senior citizens have regular screenings, especially if there is a family history of cancer. The American Cancer Society indicates that the most common screening tests include:

  • Colonoscopy – Adults over the age of 50 are advised to undergo the test every 10 years. Non-invasive alternative include double-contrast barium enemas or CT colonography every five years.
  • Mammograms – Women 55 years of age and older should consider getting screened every two years.
  • Pap Smear – Up until the age of 65, women should have pap smears and HPV tests every five years. When a woman reaches 65 and has not had abnormal tests in the past decade, health care providers advise that testing is no longer needed.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen – Prostate cancer screening and rectal exams are provided on an individual need basis. If of African/American descent or have had a parent or sibling diagnosed with prostate cancer, men should undergo screening starting at age 45.

The cancers diagnosed in senior citizens most often affect the:

  • Bladder
  • Colon
  • Lung
  • Pancreas
  • Prostate
  • Rectum
  • Stomach
  • Uterus

The prevalence of cancer in older people combined with the growing number of senior citizens indicate a greater need for health care providers to become better acquainted with geriatrics and oncology. More research is needed to understand why seniors are more susceptible to cancer and how the disease processes differ from those in younger patients.

Should your loved one receive a cancer diagnosis, early detection can boost his or her chances of beating the disease. To help your loved one meet the challenges of cancer, turn to Home Care Assistance of Columbus. We provide custom care schedules to help seniors manage their illness in the comfort of home while our highly trained caregivers offer emotional support and assistance with daily activities. To schedule a free consultation, call (614) 481-8888 today and speak to an experienced Care Manager.