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Knowledge Is the Best Defense Against Breast CancerBreast cancer is an unsettling topic for any woman. Besides the dread it induces, cancer also perplexes and frustrates with its unpredictability. Some general risk factors for any persons chance of having breast cancer have been established, but more is unknown than known about the specific causes and how or if they can be predicted in any given person. In fact, 60-70% of women with breast cancer have none of the risk factors in their backgrounds, while others with these specific risk factors never develop cancer. This puts the pressure on early detection and being always vigilant, that is, regular screening by your doctor, self-examination and being educated about early symptoms. In a word, knowing. October is an entire month dedicated to knowing more about breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings a special focus to a disease projected to affect 276,480 women and to cause 42,170 deaths this year. The topic of breast cancer among senior women gets less conversation than it should. This month would be an opportunity to change that. The Particular Problem of Age and CancerSo many of the dramatizations of breast cancer in the media and advertising feature women under 50 or 60 that you could get the impression that it is primarily a younger womans disease. But the Breast Cancer Research Foundation actually terms breast cancer a disease of aging. The Foundation reports that the median age for breast cancer is 62 and that around a quarter of women who develop the cancer are between 75-84. The population overall continues to age, and the result for breast cancer will be a doubling of cases by 2030, with most of the affected between the ages of 70 and 84. Understanding breast cancer in older women may require a radical change in perception, then. Why the seeming bias? Many circumstances contribute. For one thing, older adults are most often excluded from clinical trials. Inevitably, the research reports for a younger population. This also creates a knowledge gap in the medical professions. The lack of geriatric oncologists, those physicians who specialize in cancer among the aging, further limits the understanding and clear pathways to treatment. Of the many types, the predominant breast cancer is generally in the category of invasive or infiltrating breast cancer, accounting for 70-80% of all cases. This type invades the milk ducts of the surrounding breast tissue and spreads. The treatment depends on the protein structure of the cancer cells, and will probably require a biopsy to determine the cell makeup. Far too many variables to describe here apply. The point is that only your doctor and specialist can make diagnoses and should be consulted early and regularly for examinations. Self-diagnosing, as with all disease, is particularly untrustworthy, but self-examination is recommended and useful. Lifestyle and Environment Risk FactorsLegend Senior Living puts the health care of seniors first. While the term health care may conjure all things clinical, the practice of health and wellness at every Legend residence is part of the purposeful design of the residence itself. This includes the physical environment, the activities comprising our Life Enrichment programming, the concentration on proper nutrition and options for exercise, no matter the residents mobility limitations. All of these factors are extremely important to reducing risks of disease and physical injury generally, and cancer in particular. The National Breast Cancer Foundation lists a few of the major factors that you can modify to influence your own health. At Legend communities, our Legend Experts in Senior Living, our staff of associates, are well-trained in assisting residents with lifestyle modification that can reduce your risk of breast cancer. Exercise and ActivityA lack of physical activity directly relates to your risk for breast cancer. Increasing activity reduces your risk. This activity can take many forms, and well-designed senior living residences offer dozens of combinations. A few minutes a day in a fully equipped exercise room, especially with the coaching of an Associate, can be fun, rewarding, and not too physically demanding. Group exercise, aerobics, water aerobics, games and sports also abound. Eating WellDiet is especially important in reducing breast cancer risk. Older adults tend to have diets higher in saturated fat, because eating habits were long established before we knew as much as we do now about the effect of fat intake on health. Too, if a senior is unable to grocery shop as frequently as theyd like, their diet may lack fruits and vegetables essential to prevent diet-related health issues, cancer in particular. Residents at a well-staffed senior living residence should have the option for three chef-prepared meals every day, all designed under the supervision of a licensed nutritionist. Eating and Drinking HabitsBeing overweight or obese can increase your risk for breast cancer, especially post-menopause. So does overconsumption of alcohol. Both of these factors can be greatly influenced by lifestyle. The more active you are, with better control of your diet, the easier it is to control your weight and lessen the need for medication (alcohol being a common type of self-medication for depression and loneliness). Other FactorsOlder women should also be aware of the effects of having had radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30, as well as having taken hormone replacement therapy for menopause. Both factors can increase the risks of breast cancer. Consulting your physician is the best practice in these cases. What Doesnt Cause Breast CancerBeing well-informed and knowledgeable about breast cancer can keep a lot of stress out of your life. It will also keep you from pursuing procedures and remedies that are ineffective, unnecessary or radical. The following are all cited as Myths About Breast Cancer by the National Breast Cancer Foundation: Finding a lump in your breast does not mean automatically mean you have breast cancerA mammogram will not cause breast cancer to spreadHaving a family history of breast cancer does not mean you are likely to develop breast cancer, tooBreast cancer is not contagiousShowing the gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 in your DNA does not mean you will definitely develop breast cancerAntiperspirants and deodorants do not cause breast cancer Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October is the perfect occasion to learn, but let it be just a start to year-round awareness and vigilance, especially for older adults. Regular visits to your physician cant be replaced by any amount of education, so dont skip your checkups!
As you may have guessed from the pink merchandise flooding the stores, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What you may not realize is that breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women in the United States, right behind skin cancer. Breast cancer research has resulted in the development of many new treatments that have saved countless lives. However, the best possible outcome would be learning how to prevent breast cancer from ever occurring in the first place.! Fortunately, there are steps you can take toward preventing breast cancer in your own life. Studies have shown that certain lifestyle changes make a big impact and can decrease the risk of breast cancer even in women who are considered high-risk.What You Should Know About Breast CancerBreast cancer begins in the breast, but it can spread when cancer cells enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system and are transported to other parts of the body. Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic (or lymph) system, which carries lymph fluid through tissues and into the blood. The lymph fluid contains immune system cells, along with tissue by-products and waste materials. With breast cancer, cancer cells begin to grow in the lymph nodes around the breasts. These small glands are located under the arm, near the breastbone, and around the collar bone. When cancer spreads from the breast to the lymph nodes, theres an increased risk that it will metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.Breast Cancer VarietiesTypes of breast cancer are determined by the specific kind of cells that are affected. The most common breast cancers are carcinomas. Once a biopsy is done, the doctor will test the cells for proteins called estrogen or progesterone receptors, and for the HER2 gene or protein. At the same time, the tumor cells will be examined in the lab to determine the grade of tumor. Knowing the specific proteins and tumor grade is important for determining the stage of cancer and the best options for treatment.Early Diagnosis Is CrucialCatching breast cancer early is an important part of successful treatment. Thats why its vital to check for lumps and changes to your breasts, have regular checkups, and get mammograms and other screenings when your doctor recommends it. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, and for women over 70, theres a 1 in 24 chance of developing breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Treatments are highly individualized, and healthy, active, independent patients are most likely to experience a good outcome.Lifestyle Changes Can HelpWhether your focus is the prevention of breast cancer, or youve already had a diagnosis and want the best possible outcome, a healthy lifestyle is a crucial component of good health, regardless of your age. Here are some steps you can take to live a healthier life, and reduce your risk of breast cancer.Dont smoke. Smoking doesnt just raise your breast cancer risk; it increases the risk of at least 15 cancers! Additionally, smoking is linked to heart disease and stroke. One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to avoid smoking or quit if youre already a smoker.Limit alcohol consumption. Research indicates that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, and the more you drink the higher your risk. Even small amounts can raise your risk, so stick to one drink or fewer per day.Be careful with hormonal treatments. Hormone therapy can increase the risk of breast cancer, particularly if its taken for more than three to five years. If you and your doctor decide that short-term hormone therapy is the best option for you, take the lowest dose of hormones that works for you. A common question is whether birth control pills have an impact on breast cancer risk. Before 1985, birth control pills had higher estrogen levels than they do now. This was linked to a slight increase in breast cancer risk, though that risk level returned to normal 10 years after discontinuing birth control. Todays birth control pills have not been linked to an increased breast cancer risk.Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of cancer. Breastfeeding a baby for at least one year can help lower the risk of breast cancer, and the longer you nurse, the higher the level of protection will be.Avoid radiation as much as possible. Make sure that you only get procedures involving radiation when its absolutely necessary, as these medical imaging tests have been linked to breast cancer.Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer and other medical issues. Obesity that happens after menopause is particularly significant for breast cancer risk. Staying at a healthy weight will not only reduce your risk of breast cancer but will also help your overall health.Stay active. Exercise is a great way to keep your weight in check, and research shows that women who walk 30 minutes each day have a reduced risk of breast cancer. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity are recommended each week, along with strength training twice a week.Eat a nutritious diet. Are there foods that prevent breast cancer? Not necessarily, but a diet full of nutrients can reduce your risk, and it also helps decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The Mediterranean diet is an excellent example, focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Being diagnosed with cancer later in life can be scary and overwhelming. A cancer diagnosis can make a person feel like their world is out of control. People often say they feel helpless and powerless after they find out they have cancer.However, many find that making a personalized plan for dealing with a cancer diagnosis can help older adults make treatment decisions and feel in control of their lives again. And, by taking intentional action, it is possible to continue to focus on quality of life and joyful moments even in a difficult time.60% of people who have cancer are 65 or older.Here are some strategies for coping with a cancer diagnosis:Absorb the information People need to give themselves as much time as they need to take in the news. Processing a diagnosis can be difficult, and the person should feel comfortable taking the time and space they need to come to terms with the next steps in their treatment plans.Encourage education As the saying goes, Knowledge is power. Encourage them to learn as much as they can about their type of cancer and the treatment options available. Health care professionals are more than willing to provide resources to help someone understand their diagnosis.Express feelings Its normal to feel depressed, angry, sad or overwhelmed after being diagnosed with cancer. There are many opportunities to talk about their feelings, whether its with someone in their life that they trust, a mental health professional or a local support group.Maintain healthy habits Continuing healthy habits is important following a cancer diagnosis. Those with a cancer diagnosis should follow a doctors advice regarding nutrition and exercise, and make an effort to take care of themselves mentally and physically.Evaluate financial needs Reviewing insurance and having a plan for how they will pay for their treatment will help relieve stress down the road.Focus on other parts of life Focusing on the things in life that can be controlled will help people remember that they have the power to decide how they live life. Comfort Keepers Can HelpIf you need help during your battle with cancer, Comfort Keepers provides services for clients with a range of needs and physical abilities. Whether it is a ride to the doctor or help around the house, our goal is to provide compassionate care that helps clients find the joy and happiness in each day.To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today. ReferencesCancer.net. Aging and Cancer. Web. 2018.American Cancer Society. Coping with Cancer. Web.American Society of Clinical Oncology. Geriatric Oncology. Web.
Quality Home Care You Can Trust, Assisting Hands provides professional in-home health care services allowing our clients to remain safely and comfortably in their own homes. Their Mission Statement: To offer our clients personalized non-medical support services in their homes, assisting the elderly, disabled and others needing assistance to maintain quality of life. Our services support the individuals choices and preferences in order to maintain their dignity and independence. We assist clients in a spirit of concern for their welfare, gaining satisfaction and a sense or pride for the value that we add to their lives.