Cancer – The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

This guide will help you and your caregiver understand all there is to know about cancer, its symptoms, detection tests, and possible cures.

Did you know that if you are above 65 years of age in the US, your risk of contracting cancer is nearly 11 times that of a younger person?

Don’t get me wrong, cancer can strike at any age. In fact, nearly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women would have to fight cancer at some point of time in their life.

But it is most likely that you will be diagnosed with cancer after the age of 65.

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Despite how common cancer has become among the elderly, people have many doubts about the various types of cancer, how lethal or benign each one is, symptoms, ways of detection, and possible cures.

In this guide, we will try to give you all the information that you need to understand the various types of cancer, and how to be prepared for each of them, both for the patient and for the caregiver.

Types Of Cancer: Based On Where It Begins

  • Leukemias: Another name for leukemia is blood cancer. It starts when the healthy blood cells alter themselves and grow rapidly. 
  • Sarcomas: it begins in the tissue that connects and supports the human body, such as joints, nerves, muscles, etc.
  • Carcinomas: it starts in the tissue or skin that covers the surface of glands and internal organs—for example, breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc.
  • Lymphomas: It begins in the lymphatic system. 

You may also like Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy – Should I Consider The Elective Surgery

Breast Cancer

In the US, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer. It is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the breast. 

Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it is far more prevalent in women than in men. Recently there has been a lot of awareness among people regarding the prevalence of breast cancer in women. 

Symptoms of breast cancer are:-

  • Lumps in the breast
  • Change in the shape or size of the breasts
  • Inverted nipple
  • Changing of the breast skin
  • Redness of the skin near the nipple
Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Breast Cancer Tests 

There are several tests with which you can identify whether you have breast cancer or not. Firstly, you can get a blood test done. This blood test will determine your likelihood of suffering from breast cancer based on your DNA. 

Other tests to detect breast cancer are mammograms, breast ultrasound, imaging tests, breast MRI, etc. 

Breast cancer grows aggressively and rapidly, due to which you must go through regular breast screening or checkups.

Breast Lump Biopsy 

A breast biopsy is a name given to the procedure of removing a small tissue sample from the breast. The tissues that are removed from the breasts are used for further testing and analysis. Pathologists examine these tissues to determine whether you are suffering from a disease or not. 

You may need to get a breast biopsy done if you have a lump in your breasts, as it could signify breast cancer. Doctors recommend a breast biopsy when the results of the mammogram or the MRI are not clear.

You may also like Best Mastectomy Pillows to Use During Breast Cancer Treatment

Mammogram 

It is a form of detection of cancer cells in the body. Mammography uses low x-ray waves to examine the human breast for diagnosing and screening of the breasts. 

It is a practical screening test for the early detection of breast cancer. If you feel any symptoms of breast cancer or lumps in your breasts, then it is best to go for a mammogram test. 

Ovarian Cancer

This type of cancer begins in the ovaries. The female reproductive system consists of two ovaries. Each ovary is located on either side of the uterus. 

Ovarian cancer begins when the cells in the uterus begin to grow out of control. According to recent data, ovarian cancer can also begin in the fallopian tube in some cases. 

21,410 women are likely to suffer from this problem in 2021, out of which about 13,770 of them are likely to die. It is a severe condition in older women. Most of the women that suffer from this condition are over 63 years old

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Brain Cancer 

Brain cancer is also termed as brain tumor. It is the growth of abnormal cells in the brain, and these cells multiply at a very rapid pace, due to which you fall ill. You will find that in most cases, it is challenging to identify the correct cause of the brain tumor. 

Some of the factors that may cause risk to your brain are:-

  • Exposure to radiation
  • Hereditary issues

Skin Cancer And Melanoma

Skin cancer is a very common category of cancer among people. . Skin cancer occurs due to the abnormal growth of skin cells. 

Heredity can be a significant cause of skin cancer among people. Similarly, most cases of skin cancer occur due to the change in the DNA of the person. 

If you have very fair skin, you can also be at a high risk of suffering from skin cancer. People that also have an extraordinary level of exposure to the sun are at a high risk of suffering from skin cancer.

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Melanoma 

Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It is a severe condition in which the pigment inside our skin that gives its color becomes cancerous. Melanoma is difficult to treat as it tends to spread very rapidly. 

Some of the factors that put you to risk of melanoma are:-

The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2019, there would be around 97,000 cases of melanoma detected in America. 

Colon Cancer/Rectal Cancer

This type of cancer is also commonly known as rectum cancer. It is mainly situated near the end of the digestive tracts in our bodies. People over the age of 50 should participate in regular screenings as this type of cancer is more prevalent in that age group. 

The leading cause of rectal cancer is a sudden change in the DNA or mutation. These changes in the cells can make them unhealthy due to which over time these unhealthy cells can get accumulated and form tumors in the body. For most cases, the cause of the mutation is unknown. 

Another primary reason people don’t know about this cancer is that it usually has no symptoms. You will be able to identify this cancer only with regular screening.

Regular screening is essential for people that are at risk of suffering from colon cancer. Colonoscopy is an effective method of screening and detecting colon cancer.

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Colon Cancer Surgery 

The type of surgery you need to get for the treatment of colon cancer depends on the stage of your cancer. All colon surgeries are needed to be carried out in an empty colon. Doctors will prescribe you a special diet that will clean your colon. 

You can determine your colon’s condition or health by performing a colonoscopy, and it is the inspection of the colon done by a doctor. 

Lung Cancer 

This type of cancer develops in the person’s lungs. Smoking is the leading cause or reason for this problem. There are majorly two types of cancer:-

  • Non-small lung cancer
  • Small lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Another primary reason for lung cancer is pollution.

Besides pollution, second-hand smoke is another major cause of lung cancer, and second-hand smoke is hazardous to breathe in as it contains all the toxins and harmful chemicals. 

Symptoms of lung cancer are:-

  • Short breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Headache
  • Bone pain
  • Weight loss 

You may also like Smoking Statistics: Why It is A Worldwide Epidemic

What Is Prostate Cancer? 

Prostate cancer is among the most common types of cancer that occur in men. It is a condition in which cancer develops inside the prostate of the man. Prostate cancer can be inactive, slowly growing, or rapidly growing. 

The first two types are easily manageable, but the third stage is challenging to manage. So you should be careful to get appropriate treatment if you suffer from the third category of a prostate category.

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Symptoms for prostate cancer are:-

  • Trouble while urinating
  • Blood in semen
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain in bones
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Erectile dysfunction 

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer uses high-frequency radiation waves for killing the cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapies that can be done to cure prostate cancer

  • External beam therapy
  • Internal radiation therapy

In external therapy, the beam throws the radiation to the prostate gland from a machine outside the body. It can be used to cure earlier stages of cancer. In internal therapy, we use small pellets or seeds. They are directly inserted into your prostate. This method is used to cure higher stages of cancer.

Cervical Cancer 

This cancer occurs in the cervix. It is the lower part of the vagina that connects the uterus to the vagina. In most cases, the main reason for cervical cancer are sexually transmitted diseases. 

Usually, our body is capable of dealing with these viruses, but in some people, their immune system is not strong enough, due to which they suffer from such kinds of diseases.  

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Symptoms are:-

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Watery or bloody discharge from the vagina

Leukemia

Leukemia is a form of blood cancer. This cancer weakens and hinders the ability of the body to fight against infections. You can also call it a form of blood-forming tissue. It is a condition that affects the white blood cells in your body. 

Symptoms for detection of leukemia are:-

  • Fever or chills
  • Frequent infections
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Easy bleeding
  • Bone pain and so on

Visit a doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms. 

Anal Cancer 

Anal cancer is a medical condition that develops inside the anal tube in our body. It is a short tube surrounded by the muscles near the rectum. Whenever we release stool through bowel movement, it goes through the rectum and leaves our body through the anal canal. 

Anal cancer begins when the cells in the body start dividing without stopping. One of the significant problems of cancer is that it very quickly spreads to nearby tissues and muscles. In 2016, there were about 8000 cases of anal cancer detected in the US. We can also observe that anal cancer mainly affects people in the age range of 55-64 years

Some of the factors that might promote anal cancer are

  • Age
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Smoking
  • Weak immune system
Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

You may also like Tips to Deal with Serious Illness of a Loved One

Cancer Clinical Trials 

Clinical trials are research studies that involve real people. Clinical trials are being done on cancer patients to find effective methods of curing the people. Doctors find new ways and methods of treatment or removing the causes that might cause you such problems. 

The main reasons for performing clinical trials are to find new treatments, new categories of cancer, prevent such problems, and find methods to manage the symptoms. The government finds volunteers that are willing to be research subjects for clinical trials. 

Chemotherapy 

Chemotherapy is drug therapy. It is an effective method to treat cancer as cancer cells grow and multiply very rapidly. Your body is given a high dosage of drugs, and these drugs are responsible for killing the fast-growing cancer cells in the body. So chemotherapy reduces this rate and stabilizes your body. 

Doctors can use chemotherapy drugs individually as well as in combination to treat the cancer cells. Although there are some side effects of chemotherapy as the drugs used in this therapy are very strong.

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

Some of the most common side effects are:-

  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Pain and so on

You may also like What Is MedWatch? What is it Used For?

Can Ginseng Fight Fatigue In Cancer Patients?

Yes, ginseng is an important herb that is clinically proven to reduce fatigue in cancer patients. According to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, patients given ginseng for two months after their cancer treatment or surgery showed fewer signs of fatigue compared to the people who were administered a placebo. 

The unique chemical and mineral composition of the herb ginseng provides your body with enough nutrients, due to which your body can easily cope with the fatigue after the surgery. 

Wrap Up

It is good to have some idea of some terminologies before you get treated for the same or are helping someone with the same disorder. Prior knowledge of these terminologies will help you communicate with your doctor efficiently. 

If you or any one of your loved ones has cancer, we hope you find some of the answers here. We also wish for a speedy recovery!

Cancer - The Ultimate Guide for Caregivers and Seniors

As always, if you found our content useful, please share it with others who might be searching for similar answers. And leave your doubts and questions in the comment box below, so that we can get back to you with the answers!