Community Blog

Breast Cancer and Seniors: Not a Lethal Combination

By Debbie Humphrey

Being a woman and growing older counts as two strikes against females when it comes to breast cancer.  According to breastcancercare.org, 81% of all breast cancers occur in women age 50 and above. However, having increased risk factors and even a diagnosis of this horrible disease is not necessarily a death sentence, and often times the anxieties and stresses associated with breast cancer are often more debilitating than the treatment itself.

Pink Ribbon Reminder

Stay proactive and active! Be aware of signs and symptoms, as well as your personal risks of developing breast cancer. Besides age and gender, other risk factors associated with breast cancer and seniors are heredity, pre-existing health conditions, breast density, lack of exercise, hormone replacement, and menstruation and menopause history.

If any of these apply to you, it is vital  that you communicate with your physician and undergo a mammogram screening and/or breast ultrasound [if you have dense breast tissue), once per year, or as recommended by your doctor.

Be familiar with your body. Self-examination should be done regularly each month to determine if there are any changes in your breast size or shape, and to detect other abnormalities, signs, and symptoms. These include the most obvious, the presence of a lump, but you should also watch for swelling,  skin irritation, dimpling, pain, nipple retraction and/or discharge.  You should never wait until you have signs or symptoms like these before you undergo a breast examination or screening by medical professionals.

No matter what your age,  if you do receive a breast cancer diagnosis, it is important to keep in mind there are numerous treatment options available depending upon the stage of development. The most common treatments are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Other options may include targeted therapy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, and hormone replacement. Your doctor will prescribe the best treatment plan for you, based on your specific diagnosis. The survival rate is as high as 89%, after prescribed treatments are followed.

Remember to be active and proactive as you age, so you can enjoy a wonderful quality of life, in spite of a breast cancer threat. To learn more about breast cancer and seniors, contact the compassionate caregivers at Home Helpers today: 727-942-2539.