Cancer Warning Signs Caregivers Shouldn't Ignore

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Common Warning Signs of Cancer in the Elderly

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An occasional lapse in health is not usually cause for alarm, even in the senior years. However, when an illness doesn’t seem to go away, seniors should be concerned about the possibility of cancer. By 2030, researchers predict a 67 percent increase in the number of seniors diagnosed with cancer. Watching for some key warning signs can be the key to catching the disease early and helping your elderly loved one remain healthy. Though some of these signs may turn out to be false alarms, Scottsdale, AZ, elderly care experts recommend keeping a close eye on your loved one and getting him or her screened for cancer if these illnesses persist.

Changes in Bowel Habits

Though certain foods can cause temporary changes to your loved one’s bowel habits, including blood in the stool, constipation, painful bowel movements, and urinary incontinence, these issues should never last for more than 3 or 4 weeks. Over-the-counter laxatives might help with these problems, but they should only be seen as a short-term solution. Using them over a long period can result in secondary issues like dehydration.

Chronic Headaches

No matter your loved one’s age, chronic headaches should never be taken lightly. As a general rule, a senior should see a doctor if headaches last for more than a few days and over-the-counter painkillers offer no relief. Brain tumors can also impact cognitive abilities, including memory and the ability to speak. Severe headaches accompanied by any physical or mental changes should be addressed immediately.

Persistent Coughing

For many seniors, certain forms of cancer such as leukemia can mimic respiratory infections. Schedule a doctor’s appointment for your loved one if he or she has a cough or any other flu-like symptoms for more than 10 consecutive days. Seniors who live in dry areas like Scottsdale might want to invest in a humidifier to alleviate their congestion.

Repeated Infections

The process of cancer spreading from one part of the body to another is referred to as metastasis. If metastasis occurs, the immune system is compromised and your loved one may not be able to fight off germs he or she comes into contact with. This is just one of the reasons why so many seniors with cancer experience repeated infections and illnesses no matter how careful they are about their health. According to the CDC, a healthy adult should not be sick more than 2 or 3 times a year.

To promote your loved one’s health and longevity, it’s important to pay mind to drastic changes in his or her health and encourage regular screening for cancer and other serious illnesses. If a health condition has made it difficult for your loved one to remain independent and accomplish daily tasks, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our experienced and compassionate caregivers can provide transportation to medical appointments, prepare nutritious meals, offer timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other tasks. For more information on 24-hour and respite care Scottsdale families can rely on, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 480.448.6215 today.