The Cottages Blog

The Importance of Breast Cancer Screening for Seniors

Posted by April Davis on Oct 9, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancerous death in the United States after lung cancer. It is very important for seniors to make annual appointments to be screened for breast cancer, because 80 percent of all breast cancer is diagnosed in women over the age of 50. The more advanced your age, the higher your risk of developing breast cancer becomes.

In between annual screenings, make sure you eat healthy and exercise regularly. Keeping a healthy, happy body is one way you can try to prevent cancer. It also helps if you know your risk factors and know the symptoms of breast cancer so you can get to your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect anything. You can’t always stop breast cancer from choosing you, but when it’s found early, it is successfully treated 98 percent of the time.

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors that may increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer. However, you should remember that having one or more of the following factors does not guarantee that you will ever develop breast cancer.

Main Risk Factors

  • Advanced age
  • Menstrual cycles started before the age of 12
  • Obesity as an adolescent
  • Chest radiation as a child
  • Increased breast tissue density
  • No pregnancy or pregnancy after the age of 30
  • Use of oral contraceptives for several years
  • Weight gain after menopause
  • Menopause after the age of 50
  • Excessive exposure to estrogen and progesterone (hormone therapies)

Secondary Risk Factors

  • Family history/genetics
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress

Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor immediately

  • A lump in or near the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Flattening, redness, or swelling of the skin over the breast
  • A spot on the breast that is warm to the touch
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Retraction of the nipple

 

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Topics: Senior Health Care

April Davis

Written by: April Davis

April has over 15 years of experience working with residents in their Cottage home. She has worked in the Cottage in a variety of roles, giving her a unique perspective and a true understanding of what challenges our seniors and their families face. She has two children, Alyssa and Jackson.