Cancer and Aging

Cancer Facts for People Over 50

A very common cancer is usually seen in people of all the ages. However, you are more likely to get cancer as you get older, even if nobody from your family is suffering from cancer. It purely depends upon the health condition of your body.

Today cancer is better treatment then it was earlier.

What are the most Common Symptoms of Cancer?

The symptoms of cancer are listed below:

  • changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • a sore that does not heal
  • increase in the size of a mole or wart or change in color
  • unexpected bleeding or discharge
  • any lump or swelling in the body
  • indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • hoarseness
  • weight gain or loss
  • swelling of one limb

Symptoms of cancer may vary with any one or more of the above symptoms, but doesn’t always mean a sign of cancer. However, it is very important that you should seek doctor’s advice without any further delay. Often the symptoms may have nothing to do with cancer, but if it is cancer the quicker you visit a doctor the better.

Often people believe that as their age increases their symptoms are due to the fact of growing older. Because of this believe, the cancer are not treated and diagnosed on time.

What Regular Tests Should I Have?

Before you begin you should tell your doctor about your diet, exercise, medication, sexual behavior, family history of having diseases and any other symptoms that you are suffering from over a period of time. This information is vital because it affects your risk factors of various illness and the possible tests that your doctor may decide to give you.

Physical Exam – The doctor will check height, weight and blood pressure and examine your heartbeats, lungs and carotid artery for abnormalities such as lung obstruction. Doctor will also check your ears, mouth, lymph nodes, thyroid and rectum and feel your abnormality and scan your skin for the signs and symptoms of cancer.

Counseling – After proper medical examination the doctor will provide you all the details and the risk factors and discuss with you as what habits you should change to maintain a good health and the often tests that you require to do.

Mammogram – A mammogram test should be done every year after age 40 together with breast self-examinations. For quick detection of pelvic and cervical cancers a PAP smear and pelvic exam should be conducted every one or two year for women with higher risk of disease. A Bone density test should be done for women with a very high risk of osteoporosis.

Clinical Breast Exam – At the time of clinical breast exam, the doctor or other any other health care professional should check the breasts, underarms for lumps or other changes that could be the sign of breast cancer.

Fecal Occult Blood Test – Colorectal cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases after age 50. Both men and women can have colorectal cancer. This test should be done every year, it checks for blood in the stool as an indicator of the possible colorectal cancer.

Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy – This test is done to detect colon cancer. If you have a family history or any other risk factors for colon cancer then colonoscopy is the recommended test you should have every ten years. And people usually over 50 should have sigmoidoscopy test every 5 years.

Pap Test – The risk of developing cancer of the cervix (the lower part of the uterus or womb) increases with the age. This test can find the precancerous changes or the cancer of the cervix or vagina. The PAP test will only rarely detect cancer of the ovaries or the cancer of the upper part of the uterus and will also find some infections of the cervix and vagina.

Pelvic Exam – In this the doctor examine the drops of discharge from vagina under the microscope to check for bacterial vaginosis, yeast and irritation or infection of the cervix. The second part of pelvic exam is when the doctor puts two fingers inside the vagina and checks the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries for normal development, infection, and tubal pregnancy. This examination is not painful.

Digital Rectal Exam – A digital rectal examination is done to check for abnormalities of organ or other structures in the pelvis and lower abdomen. During the examination the doctor will inserts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum and may use other hand to press on the lower abdomen. This exam is done for men as a part of complete physical examination and is done for women as a regular gynecological examination.

Prostate Specific Antigen – The test measures the amount of Prostate Specific Antigen in the blood. Prostate Specific Antigen is released into a man’s blood by his prostate gland. Healthy men have low amount of PSA in the blood. And the amount of PSA increases as the prostate enlarges with the age. PSA may increase as a result of sexual activity and injury.

Skin Exam – During the examination the doctor will examine the skin over your entire body, searching for suspicious growths, moles, or lesions. This exam is performed using a bright light and could include a magnifying lens. And also the scalp is thoroughly examine by parting the hair.

If You Have Cancer

If any of the test shows that you have a cancer you should immediately consult with doctor for the possible diagnose and treatment.

Can Cancer be treated?

Cancer can be treated. There are five major types of treatment for cancer and are described as follows:

Surgery – This involves an operation, an operation is done to remove the tumour. Surgery is often done if the cancer is only in one part of the body and has not spread across. It may be used to remove lymph nodes if these are also affected by the cancer. The type of operation will depend on the area of body, which is affected by the cancer and also on the size, and the position of the tumour.

Radiotherapy – The radiotherapy use a very high energy x-rays to destroy the cancer cells and cause a very little harm to normal cells. The radiotherapy is aimed at the affected part of the body and is very carefully planned. This therapy causes side effects and most common one involves is tiredness.

Active surveillance – There are some types of cancer that grow very slowly and may cause no problems for many years. In this you may not need to have any treatment for sometime, but your doctor will monitor it closely so that if the cancer starts to grow you can be treated at that very time.

Hormonal therapy – This treatment work by altering the levels of particular hormones in the body. By altering means the level of hormones in the body, or blocking the hormones from attaching to the cancer cells the cancer can be controlled and cured.

Chemotherapy – This involves the use of anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. There are over 50 different Chemotherapy drugs. Some are given as tablets or capsules but mostly given by drip into a vein. It can cause side effects, again depends upon the combination of drugs used.

Can Cancer Be Prevented?

Yes, cancer can be prevented and the chances of getting cancer increases after age 50 and there are various follow-ups that you can do to prevent it.

Eat whole foods including fruits and vegetable in your daily eating habit. Daily aerobic exercise and stretching increases circulation and helps the body eliminate toxins stored in our tissues. For the individuals whose lifestyle involves daily smoking, excessive drinking, less diet an extra efforts need to be taken care of to restore the body to its fullest health. Foods high in chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C will significantly increase elimination of toxins and free radicals known to cause cellular changes that the root cause of cancer.

Thus, with a little effort from your side can prevent you being infected with cancer or other categories of cancer.