Oct 16, 2017 by Sandra Hatch
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month; that makes it the perfect time for senior women in Fresno, CA to focus on their health by getting a cancer screening. Since early detection is key to successfully treating breast cancer, older adult women who make it a priority to go to the doctor for an annual screening can save their life. Cancer screenings are essential for older women who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the risk factors of breast cancer, what can be expected during a screening, treatment plan options, as well as in home care services to support everyday personal care tasks, housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders and much more.
Since aging can lead to an increased risk of abnormal changes in the cells, older women are more likely to develop breast cancer. Research has proven that there are several primary risk factors that can increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. These risk factors include age, adolescent weight gain, no pregnancy or late pregnancy, late menopause, post-menopausal weight gain, increased breast tissue density, chest radiation as a child, and a long-term use of oral contraceptives. It’s important to note that although these are risk factors, the majority of senior woman with one or more of these risk factors do not get breast cancer.
Senior women who get an annual screening will do so through a mammogram, an X-ray of the breast that can detect cancer before any physical symptoms such as a lump or pain arise. The mammogram will be performed in a private room with an X-ray technician who will provide an older woman with a gown to wear. Senior women who have trouble getting dressed due to arthritis or other conditions can benefit from having in home care services and a dedicated caregiver assist them at home or at appointments.
The X-ray technician will place each of the woman’s breasts between two plastic plates. Although this procedure may be uncomfortable, it is essential as it allows the breast tissue to spread and flatten so that a clear image of the breast can be created.
If the mammogram does not reveal any issues, senior women can expect to receive a letter within 30 days of the procedure informing them that their results were normal. However, if doctors locate something suspicious, they will call them back within 5 days to perform further testing.
In the event that breast cancer is detected, a medical team will determine its stage and design an appropriate treatment plan. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy are four of the most common breast cancer treatments. A senior woman’s stage, clinical history, and preferences are all taken into consideration before a treatment is prescribed.
If you are a senior woman in the Fresno, CA or you have a senior loved one in the area that could benefit from in home care services, contact us or call (559) 365-6440 to find out more about the many ways that a caregiver can make everyday tasks easier for seniors who live alone.