Which cancer screenings do older adults need?

Sunrise Senior Living  |  September 5, 2017

Everyone deserves to feel healthy and in control of their own lives. 

According to the American Cancer Society, an important step in that direction is following the guidelines for important cancer screenings.

This is especially vital for older adults because they are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than any other segment of the population.

Caregivers and seniors should know what screenings to schedule and when.

Cancer Screenings for Older Adults

In recognition of national Stand Up to Cancer Day on September 9, here’s a guide to the tests you should know about and discuss with your physician or your senior loved one’s.

1. Lung Cancer Testing

If you or your senior loved one are an active smoker or quit within the past 15 years, the doctor may recommend screening for lung cancer. The test is a low-dose CT scan which looks for early signs of lung cancer. Be sure to have a discussion with your healthcare provider about the risks, limitations, and benefits of this test.

2. Colon Cancer Testing

Colon cancer testing is recommended for anyone over 50. The screening test, which is covered by Medicare, looks for pre-cancerous polyps. If any are found, they can hopefully be removed before they become cancerous.

There are several types of colon cancer screenings and Medicare coverage depends on factors like risk and date of the last test. The American Cancer Society has a complete breakdown of how Medicare coverage works.

3. Prostate Cancer Testing (Men)

Prostate cancer screening is recommended, but seniors should talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits. When deciding whether or not to be tested, remember overall health is a factor, not just age.

4. Breast Cancer Testing (Women)

Mammograms play an important role in screening for breast cancer. The recommended frequency is every two years. Some women who are at high risk for breast cancer choose to be screened every year.

If you’re not sure whether you or your senior loved one are at high risk for breast cancer, talk to your healthcare provider. Family history is part of risk, but age plays a role, too.

The risk of breast cancer increases as women age. A physician may recommend other tests in addition to a mammogram for those who are high risk.

5. Cervical Cancer Testing (Women)

Cervical cancer testing is recommended, but only if you haven’t been regularly screened during the past ten years.

Still want to know more about cancer screenings for every age?

The American Cancer Society created a handy timeline of recommended cancer screenings for each age.

Your Choices Matter: Sunrise Senior Living® Wants to Help

Cancer screening is just one important part of an overall program for health. Your lifestyle choices matter, too. Decisions about diet, habits, and exercise contribute to your health status, and should always be considered carefully.

You can stay up to date on the latest research on aging by reading the Sunrise Blog. We cover topics most older adults want to know more about ranging from health and fitness to diet and nutrition.

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