The lifetime cancer risk is forty-four percent in men and thirty-eight percent in women, with an increase to those percentages if you are sixty-five and older(Browner,2017). There are different types of preventative measures to help reduce diseases in elders, but with cancer being the second most common cause of death in elders across the United States there are only so many measures you can take. Cancer can be more difficult in treating among older adults because they are likely to have other conditions as well(cancer.net, 2018). Also, with the populations’ life expectancy increasing there is more of a chance for an elder to develop cancer cells. Recently there has been a twenty-six percent increase in developing cancer for people ages sixty-five and older and death is sixteen times greater in patients of the age sixty-five and older(Berger,2006). But, the reason for increasing life expectancy is because of the medical advances for all ages, which is helping the age of people to live longer. There are multiple centers and organizations available for elderly cancer patients around the United States and in Northwest Arkansas that have programs that help with support and possible financial assistance.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the elder population. Although, when people hear the word cancer, they start to think that it is a terminal condition, now people are beginning to live longer with the illness. But, usually eighty percent of elder live at least five years with the condition. Again, the prevalence of cancer rates is on the rise for the elderly
population, and if they have another outstanding condition or disease then that could make treating and even preventing cancer from growing or spreading harder than just having the cancer condition alone. Also, with elderly people being more sensitive to most treatments and medication, it makes treating the cells hard to manage. But, with improvements to treatments and screenings makes catching it in a lower stage an easier process. Gender and racial differences can play a role in the different types of cancer(Hooyman,2015, pg.80), and also how severe the condition can have an effect on the patient. For an example, women are more likely to contract breast cancer, but it is also possible for males to have breast cancer cells, but it may take a while to detect because having testing done for breast cancer cells is not the first thing you think to have screened if you are a male.
For chronic illnesses and diseases, many healthcare providers ask for chronic management instead of a cure for the condition(Hooyman,2015, pg.13). Although finding a cure is needed, finding a way to manage it could be helpful for elders. It may be more helpful to stabilize the condition rather than try to treat it if the elder individual’s body is not accepting or having negative side effects with the treatment. Having a better quality of life, like physical, emotional, and even social aspects, can help you either cope with already having the condition or help with developing cancer. Having physical comfort like your living situation, having positive relationships, eating nutritious foods, and being able to care for yourself especially if you live unaccompanied could help with your quality of life(cancer.net, 2018). As always, screening and getting test regularly is always key to catching it before or early on in the stages. Although there are always barriers and benefits to screening, barriers being the screening do not have standard guidelines, could have limited data, or could not detect disease, being a false negative. Other barriers to diagnosis and treatment could be, if there is a cost or limited to no transportation available for screening then diagnosing and treatment for the condition is impossible. Another barrier could be that if their body strength to tolerate or accept the treatment is not strong enough then to doctor or physician could lead the patient to a different way to treat the condition(Berger,2006).
Some early symptoms, if any, could consist of fatigue, depression, weight loss and loss of appetite, changing in memory or thought process and pain if present(healthinaging.org, 2018). Fatigue could be caused by various reasons like, the actual cancer cells, treatment, and stress. Depression could be caused from pain, it could be severe enough to slow down limitations to social life and even just the thought of having this said disease and people looking at you differently, causing you to think negatively about yourself. If you have changes in your cerebral cortex, could lead to being forgetful, having a hard time focusing, and you could have difficulty making plans and processing tasks(healthinaging.org, 2018). Trying to manage keeping your cerebral cortex task oriented and working can be a challenge if you are having such problems. Making sure you get enough sleep, keep to-do list regularly, always asking for help when you might need it, and writing down questions if no one is around at the time and ask later could keep your cerebral cortex working. If you experience loss of appetite and possible weight loss, you want to have your healthcare provider and their team help you plan of meals, medications, and even physical exercise times and functions. Ways to solve having a better diet and managing weight loss could be eating smaller portions but more often, limiting your consumption of fatty foods, and if you are inflexible to changing those options your provider could recommend taking supplements. Experiencing pain during treatment or from the cells themselves can change levels each day and can will likely be experienced while having the condition. Keeping pain levels under control is one of the healthcare provider’s most important ambition.
Cancer treatments for older adult individuals could be a single type of treatment or could be in alliance with other treatments. Many times, physicians will perform a treatment outcome assessment to determine how to treat each individual, knowing that all people are different, and each have to be treated in different ways. Most common options include, but not limited to, surgery, chemotherapy, target therapy, and/or radiation therapy. Surgery consist of removing the cancer cells and possibly other cells surrounding the site to make sure spreading of the cancer cells doesn’t happen and can be done in a quicker time span than other therapies. As always negative risks and liabilities can occur during all surgery, it is especially significant in the elderly individuals because your body may not function as healthy as it did before and should always discuss the risks that could occur. Chemotherapy treatment is spread out through several weeks and possible months, because of the longevity and strength of the chemo it can cause elderly individuals to have a higher risk of negative side effect but could still have a positive outcome. Chemotherapy takes effect upon the entire body as a whole, and can cause problems with the nervous systems, cause the stomach and weight loss problems, and can cause your blood count to be off by being lower, increasing the risk for an infection. With older individuals more commonly known for taking other medications for other health circumstances, this type of medication could possibly cause a reaction or affect the way the chemotherapy is working and void what that specific medication in intended to treat. As for radiation therapy, it is usually used in conjunction with treatments like surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is intense energy that kills the cells, and is usually done externally, but can be done internally, known as brachytherapy, by placing radioactive material inside your tissue(Mayo Clinic, 2018). Always consider the risk and benefits to this therapy like; cost, schedule because it requires treatment more often than chemotherapy, and keeping a healthy diet could help determine the consideration of radiation therapy.
Through clinical trials doctors have begun including more elderly individuals in their trials because cancer is a rising condition in people ages sixty-five and older. The American Society of Clinical Oncology organized a trial named the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry, TAPUR, which is a clinical trial for individuals with later stages of cancer. The drugs used in this trial are for treatment of certain types of cancers but might work in treating other cancers while treating the one its intended to treat. The target for Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry is to learn about and from prescribing practices and to educated oncologists about how to use these genomically target drugs(TAPUR,2018). Eligibility consist of advanced cancer, no longer benefiting from any other treatment and being healthy enough to participate.
At excessive doses of the therapy, radiation can kill cancer or at least slow down the growth by deteriorating them. Deteriorating them can cause the cells to quit dividing and/or eventually die off and can then be removed by the body. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are not the cure for cancer but has been the most successful treatment to date. Although nothing can assure your recovery outcome, most patients will be advised by their physicians them to use the statement in remission instead of being cured.
There are multiple federal and state funding programs that will assist in financial barriers that individuals and their families could face. You can have insurance and still apply for government assistance for treatments, but there are certain eligibility requirements you have retain for each funding program. Some of the nonprofit organizations include CancerCare, Good Days, National Organization for Rare Disorders along with others, and they often times will pay for the copay and deductibles and could possible pay for cost of certain medications and treatment(Financial Assistance for Cancer Patients, 2018).
Hope Cancer Resources mission is to provide compassionate, professional cancer support and education in the Northwest Arkansas region today and tomorrow. There vision is to provide hope and enhance quality of life by expanding prevention, wellness and comprehensive cancer support services in our region. They have extraordinarily high licensed oncology social workers, along with a Spanish interpreter to help broaden the amount of people that can come through and receive help from Hope Cancer Resources. There population includes all ages but have a focus in the elder population ages sixty-five and older. There are transportation services provided that can get patients to and from their appointments. Their biggest drawback is transportation, because while they do provide this service, they do not allow wheelchairs or family to ride along with them. With cancer lowering your strength and physical capabilities most will have a wheelchair and need assistance. Hope Cancer Resources is one of the governments funded nonprofit in northwest Arkansas, and do not require any client fees and is solely ran off of donations and government grants. Their goal with financial assistance is to alleviate the financial stress of cancer for patients and their families. They offer financial assistance to cater to all individuals needs such as; gas cards and everyday living expenses along with funding for medications and nutritional supplements if needed. They provide counseling sessions that aid in emotional support and can include individual, couples, and family sessions. Hope Cancer Resources provides free cancer screening and prevention education, which includes; education for tobacco cessation and prevention. Along with these services they recently launched their wellness center in hopes to promote wellness and healthy living by helping to increase the quality of life of the patients and their caregivers.
In conclusion, cancer will always be a negative diagnosis and disease until there is cure, and even then, cancer will still need to be treated. Cancer is the second highest cause of death in elder, ages sixty-five and older, and needs to be treated differently on each individual. Although now cancer is not considered to be a terminal disease any longer it is still a disease that needs to be treated and especially in elder with their systems weakening as they age. There are multiple routes a person can take to treat whichever kind of cancer they have, but it is not said which treatment is more effective than the other. All of the therapies are said to have positive effects with minimal side effects, but still some side effects could be present. Recommendations for change in the increasing number of people with cancer would be to include free screenings every year after the age of fifty. Having free screenings would encourage more individuals to get the testing and would more likely be able to detect it in the early stages. New solutions would be to find a cure for cancer, and to make it available for everyone to receive that treatment if needed. The next step everyone should take is to get screenings done more often which would in turn decrease the rise in the population of positive cancer testing. With Hope Cancer Resources being located here in the Northwest Arkansas area, it makes getting screened and test an easy access with no barriers holding you back if you live in the area.
Lifetime Risk of Cancer. (2019, Mar 16).
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