United Methodist

Warning Signs of Common Types of Cancers in Seniors

Warning Signs of Common Types of Cancers in Seniors

Unfortunately, cancer is something that millions of families will deal with at some point in time. It’s a journey the whole family is affected by, and is filled with ups and downs. Fortunately, early detection can save a life. Seniors are especially vulnerable to certain types of cancers, so it’s important to be able to recognize the early warning signs and symptoms. If your older loved one is exhibiting any worrying symptoms, contact their doctor as soon as possible.

Breast Cancer

Mammograms are performed to screen for any abnormal growths in the breasts, usually starting at age 50. After the first breast screening, it’s recommended to have one every three years until age 71.
It’s important to let your loved one’s doctor know if there is a family history of breast cancer. Common symptoms include:

  • New lumps in the breast, armpit, or around the collar bone. The lumps may be painless, but they can also be tender to the touch.
  • Swelling in or around the breast
  • Pain in the nipple or the breast
  • Changes in skin texture on the breast, like thickening, redness, or scaliness
  • Nipple discharge

Lung Cancer

Many older adults grew up in a time when smoking cigarettes was common and the health risks weren’t public knowledge like they are today. If your senior loved one was, or still is, a smoker, it’s important to be vigilant about potential symptoms of lung cancer:

  • Coughing up blood
  • A persistent cough that doesn’t go away
  • Voice changes or a hoarse voice
  • Frequent headaches
  • Recurring lung infections, like bronchitis
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss

Leukemia & Lymphoma

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells, and common warning signs are:

  • Feeling tired and weak all the time
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chills and night sweats
  • A persistent fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tiny red spots appearing on the skin
  • Bruising easily

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands throughout your body. Symptoms include:

  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Enlarged lymph nodes that feel like lumps under the skin
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent cough
  • Getting regular infections

Prostate Cancer

It’s recommended that men begin having regular prostate screenings every two to three years when they turn 45 or 50 years old. Common symptoms of prostate cancer are:

  • Frequent urination, especially during the night
  • Sudden and uncontrollable urges to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the lower back, thighs, hips, or pelvis area
  • Pressure or pain in the rectum

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer symptoms often don’t present until the cancer is advanced, so it’s important to be aware of potential warning signs:

  • Changes in bowel habits, like constipation or diarrhea
  • Stomach pain that lasts for several days
  • Feelings of weakness and exhaustion
  • Pressure in the lower abdomen or rectum
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Always feeling as if you need to use the bathroom

Not all of the symptoms listed above mean that your loved one has cancer definitively. That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular check-ups and screenings with their doctor. As well as early detection saving lives, so can staying up to date with all of the recommended cancer screenings. At our full-service assisted living communities across New Jersey, we offer long term care or skilled nursing care to seniors who have chronic conditions like cancer. Our medical professionals onsite can help treat or minimize painful symptoms that accompany the common types of cancer in seniors.
For more information about how to identify the early warning signs and symptoms of cancer in seniors, please contact our team at UMC today or visit us at: https://umcommunities.org

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    Phone: 732-922-9800