What Senior Women Need to Know about Breast Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so the team at our senior living community in Camden County, New Jersey is raising awareness about breast cancer and how breast health can be maintained as we get older.

Breast Cancer Risks in Older Women

Research has shown that breast cancer is the second most common cause of death in all women, with higher risks and a lower survival rate for older women — particularly between the ages of 65 and 80. In fact, around half of all women diagnosed in this age group die of this disease, often because they are more likely to contract the more aggressive forms of this cancer.

Along with a family history of breast cancer, exposure to estrogen throughout your lifespan (when your menstrual periods began and ended, number and timing of pregnancies, and hormone replacement therapy), alcohol usage and exposure to radiation therapies, as well as aging itself, are all risk factors.

How Can Older Women Effectively Manage Their Breast Health?

As with many other health conditions, you play a vital role in your own health and fighting against these diseases. For older women, it is recommended that you:

  1. Have all three types of breast exams conducted on a regular basis. This means doing a self-exam each week to look for lumps or changes in breast size, having a clinical exam conducted by your doctor at least once a year, and a mammogram screening once a year. As with many cancers, early intervention is key to effectively fighting this condition.
  2. Know your coverage. Ensure that your health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid covers your screenings and that you commit to their recommended number of screenings per year. Remember, the American Geriatrics Society recommends mammogram screenings each year for women up to the age of 85.
  3. Reduce your alcohol intake. There are clear links between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. For healthy seniors, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends no more than three alcoholic drinks a day and no more than seven per week. For seniors with health problems and on medications, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor as alcohol can interfere with your treatment and worsen symptoms.

Independent Living for Seniors at Our Assisted Living Community in Camden County, NJ

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus our community to provide essential resources that promote independence and quality of life.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at http://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or contact us and book your visit today.