Senior with CancerOur likelihood of developing cancer grows with age.

Statistics show that 60% of both cancer patients and survivors are 65 or older. Age can affect cancer treatments, with older bodies being more likely to be dealing with other chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Goals for senior citizens with cancer may differ from someone diagnosed in their 30s or 40s. For example, an older person may not fare as well as a younger person with an aggressive form of cancer treatment. Goals for older adults may include:

  • Being free of cancer
  • Experiencing fewer symptoms from the disease
  • Extending life, even if cancer still present
  • Maintaining a certain quality of life

At the time of diagnosis, your doctor may recommend a health assessment to ensure your treatment plan is the appropriate one for you. The overall health check measures not only your physical health but also your level of independence, fall risk, medications, and emotional health. These results can help direct you, your family, and your doctor down the right treatment path.

Important questions to ask about your cancer and treatments include:

  • Is this cancer curable? What are my chances of making a full recovery?
  • What are the goals of my treatment options?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects associated with the treatments?
  • How can I expect these treatments to affect my daily life?

Regardless of age, there are a number of cancer treatment options, including:

  • Surgery: It’s important to speak with your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of surgery. Blood tests, EKG and x-rays may be suggested to better determine how your body may respond. Your post-surgery recovery may be improved by incorporating the services of a home health aide, visiting nurse, physical therapist or support groups.
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment can be spread over weeks or months, possibly split up by a break to allow the body to recover. Common side effects include lower blood counts, with fewer white or red blood cells, or platelets; stomach and digestive issues, including nausea, diarrhea and vomiting; damage to the nervous system, which can cause problems with memory loss and energy levels.
  • Radiation: This treatment may be conducted on its own or it may follow surgery or chemotherapy. You may be required to receive radiation therapy every day for a matter of weeks. Your doctor may suggest lower doses of radiation if there are concerns about how your body will receive the treatment. Ask your doctor about side effects, which vary based on cancer type and what part of the body is exposed to radiation.

For information on Embassy Healthcare’s services, call us at 888-975-1379 or contact us online.