“National Cancer Control Month” is observed each year during the month of April. National Cancer Control Month is a federally endorsed observation that is annually encouraged by a proclamation from the President of the United States, approved through a joint resolution by congress in 1938.
If your elderly loved one has been recently diagnosed with cancer, the best place to start is by learning as much information as you can from your loved one’s doctor and reputable sources of information. During National Cancer Control Month this April, we focus on raising awareness of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, as well as the importance of having cancer screenings in order to prevent cancer. Providing care for the personal and in-home care needs of cancer suffers is what this month aims to educate about.
According to statistics, most of us have been affected by cancer in one form or another. Either yourself, a friend, or a family member may have been given a cancer diagnosis at some point. Fortunately, for many years deaths due to cancer have steadily declined. This is due in part to better education and heightened awareness about how to prevent certain types of cancer, recognizing the signs and symptoms of cancer, and knowledge on how to seek proper treatment.
During the last decade, cancer-related deaths have continued to drop year after year, but it’s important to remember all that needs to be done to help keep cancer-related deaths at bay.
FACTS ABOUT CANCER
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, only second to heart disease;
- Cancer deaths and rates have been declining since the early 1990s;
- About 50% of men and 33% of women will get cancer in the U.S.;
- Poor nutrition, obesity, or lacking in physical activity can be related to approximately 33% of cancers.
CANCER RISK FACTORS
Research has shown that lifestyle decisions may help to reduce your cancer risk factors. Cancer researchers have identified several lifestyle decisions that Americans can make to reduce their risk of cancer, such as quitting tobacco, eating healthier, exercising regularly, using sun protection and undergoing recommended screenings. Risk factors include:
- Age: over 75% of cancers are in people 55+
- Tobacco Use
- Poor Nutrition
- Heavy Drinking
- Physical Inactivity
- Exposure to Cancer Causing Agents at Work
- Prolonged, Unprotected Exposure to Sunlight
THE HEALTH ISSUES RELATED TO CANCER TREATMENTS
Another goal of Cancer Control Month is minimizing the chronic effects of cancer treatment for the growing population of cancer survivors in the US. For the elderly in particular, the life-saving treatments they used help put their cancer into remission also may have increased the risks of health conditions such as heart and lung problems, cognitive problems, and musculoskeletal problems.
It is recommended that if you or your loved one has had cancer, you should wear a medical ID bracelet. Cancer medical IDs should be engraved with all of your vital medical and contact information, so first responders would be able to take immediate action with your treatment in the case of an emergency. It is also important to engrave the pertinent information that would be helpful in the event that you are unable to communicate for yourself. Remember to also check with your doctor or nurse to see what they recommend you include on your medical ID bracelet.
CANCER AND THE ELDERLY
When you have an older loved one who has been recently diagnosed with cancer, you face the question of if it is it better to treat the cancer, or use a “wait and watch” approach in an attempt to avoid treatment that could be debilitating because of your loved one’s age.
Athough 60 percent of new cancer diagnoses are in people age 65 and over, there is little research out there about how to treat elderly cancer patients, and if they should even be treated at all. It is recommended to use this list of questions as a guide to help you make the most informed decisions when speaking with a medical professional:
- What type of cancer does my loved one have?
- How common is this type of cancer?
- Where exactly is the cancer located?
- What stage is this cancer, and what does that mean?
- Do medical experts recommend treatment?
- What kinds of treatments are used for this type of cancer?
- What are the side effects of these treatments?
- How will the treatments affect my loved one’s current lifestyle?
- What will treatment likely cost, and will my loved one’s insurance cover it?
- How will they affect my life as a caregiver?
- What is the chance of recovery?
- What is the best-case and worst-case prognosis?
- What kind of lifestyle changes can my loved one make to keep as healthy as possible?
- Is this cancer caused by genetic factors? If so, are other people in my family at risk, and what can they do to help prevent cancer?
It is also important to keep in mind that while it is important to take into account what medical professional feel is the best course of action, what your loved one thinks is equally important.
No matter if your loved one is leaning towards going ahead with treatments, or adamant about avoiding it – you should listen to and respect their opinion. Taking into account all of these factors, it will be easier to decide on the best course of action for your loved one.
RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
We have provided some reputable sources of information, that can aid in helping to research and provide further information on all of the topics we discussed about about “National Cancer Control Month.” Please click on the links provided below for further details.
To learn more about cancer in older adults, visit these sources:
- “No Single Path for Cancer Care in Elderly,” New York Times
- “Cancer and the Elderly,” The National Cancer Institute
For General Information:
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
National Cancer Control Month is a great time to look into various ways to prevent cancer and its treatment complications. Thus, the goal of National Cancer Control Month is for Americans to lead healthy and productive lives, with the hopes that by educating yourself and doing research, we can help in the decline of cancer-related deaths in the near future, as well as promoting cancer screening in order to prevent this devastating illness.
When it comes to your elderly loves ones, Unicity Healthcare is here to help.
If your aging senior needs extra help and support and may be in need of geriatric or in-home care, Unicity Healthcare’s geriatric care managers work closely with families to provide the assistance and peace of mind they need. You can benefit from the expertise of our experienced Senior Advisors, and can inquire on how to seek help from Unicity’s qualified home care professionals to help ease the burden.
For more information please contact us at:
Explore our website: Unicity Healthcare https://www.unicity-ec.com/