A Disease of Aging | A Look at Breast Cancer Awareness and Senior Women
Breast cancer is a disease that’s associated with aging. As a woman gets older, her risk of developing some form of breast cancer increases. Because it’s most common in women aged 60 and older, Summerset Assisted Living Community wants to focus October’s blog on breast cancer awareness and senior women.
Breast Cancer Statistics
Did you know that 80% of all breast cancer diagnoses occur in women over 50? In addition, 60% are found in women over 65. The risk of recurrence is also higher in older women. Compared to women younger than 65, recurrence was 6.3% higher for women ages 65-74.
When it comes to breast cancer, the cause can be genetic, environmental or a combination of both. Genetic factors include gender, age, race, family history, personal health history, reproductive history, certain genome changes, and dense breast tissue. Environmental factors include poor diet, lack of physical activity, weight, alcohol consumption, childhood radiation, and combined hormone replacement therapy. Focusing on age as a risk factor, two out of three women with invasive cancer are diagnosed after age 55.
Detection of Breast Cancer
Early detection can make the difference for breast cancer patients. Learn more about early warning signs and symptoms, here. Monthly self-exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms are all methods designed to detect breast cancer in the early stage when it’s more treatable. Older women are encouraged to complete self-exams monthly and mammograms every 1-2 years.
Breast Cancer Treatment
When it comes to treatment, there are four primary options: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. Despite age, research shows that older women get just as much benefit from cancer treatment as their younger counterparts. However, researchers have found that treatment is oftentimes less aggressive in older women. Reasons vary between personal preferences, a doctor’s recommendation or potential side effects.
There are specific challenges that face seniors when it comes to breast cancer. For starters, clinical trials that show the treatment success of women over 70 years old are lacking. Because of this gap in research, doctors don’t always know how much of a various treatment regimen some older women can handle. Once a treatment plan is chosen, there can also be issues with consistent access to treatment appointments. Senior breast cancer patients may not have transportation to appointments.
Summerset Assisted Living Community manages the health and well-being of all guests on an individual basis. Each guest is provided access to medical treatment and transportation to doctor’s visits as often as they need. Our staff prides itself on caring for each individual and their needs.
At Summerset, regardless of the level of care, we make it our mission to make each resident feel at home when they come through our doors. If you have any questions about our assisted living program or our accommodations, give us a call at 470-231-2357. You can also visit our website to learn more about Summerset’s Assisted Living Program.
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Your Home Away from Home | Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Summerset Assisted Living Community is focused on providing top quality, excellent, compassionate care for those we serve. Schedule a tour today!
*Sources: nationalbreastcancer.org and breastcancer.org