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Cancer and the Elderly

Last updated 4 years ago

Cancer does not discriminate. It can affect anyone of any age, race, or gender. However, this disease does frequently develop in older patients. Though seniors may require cancer care services distinct from younger patients, South Bay Hospital stresses the importance of seeking help as soon as symptoms present. No matter the patient’s age, early cancer care can better ensure more effective treatment.

Risk Factors

Some people might wonder why older individuals so often suffer from cancer. Age is a risk for this disease due to several factors. For one, as the body ages, it may not be as effective in destroying abnormal cells that turn into cancerous growths. Two, older people may engage in poor lifestyle habits over many decades that eventually contribute to their health conditions. For instance, the use of cigarettes over the course of a lifetime may lead to the development of lung cancer in latter years.

Treatment Options

When an otherwise healthy person receives a cancer diagnosis, he may have many treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy available to him. However, older age is also a risk factor for other health conditions that can complicate cancer care. If an elderly patient also has heart disease or diabetes, he may be too ill to undergo more rigorous forms of treatment. As a result, cancer care experts may have to proceed with alternate forms of treatment that pose a lesser risk to the patient’s wellbeing.

Cancer Care Complications

Elderly cancer patients may also suffer more treatment complications during the cancer care process. Bodily discomfort is a common side effect. Weakness, fatigue, and loss of appetite can also arise in response to treatment. Should an older cancer patient experience any of these complications, though, it is important that they discuss them with their cancer care team. In many cases, medication and lifestyle changes can improve the wellbeing of elderly cancer treatment patients.

Do you have an elderly loved one who requires cancer care? Let South Bay Hospital attend to his unique needs. Call our Sun City Center hospital today at (888) 685-1595 for more information on our cancer care services.


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