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Cancer Screening Timelines for Boomers and Seniors

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenJuly 25, 2016

Cancer is a diagnosis no one wants to receive. It affects people of all ages, but seniors are especially at risk as the body ages and life-ware can take a toll

Learn more about recommended cancer screening timelines to help ensure you and your loved ones prevent the deadly disease.

Cancer Screening Timelines for Seniors

Taking advantage of preventative health can make seniors less vulnerable to the various forms of cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, advancing age is a high risk factor for cancer, with persons over 65 accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed malignancies and 79% of all cancer deaths.

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Furthermore, with people living longer these days, it is expected that by 2050, approximately 70 million individuals will reach age 65 and older, compared to half that — 35 million today—which will create both socioeconomic and political consequences, as more healthcare resources and personnel will be needed to care for the elderly, as reported by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

These numbers show the importance of being proactively healthy through diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits; in addition to preventative health screenings and donations to help fund medical research.

Take Action Against Cancer

Seniors and their caregivers can help avoid complications from breast cancer, colon cancer and more by simply being motivated to lead healthy lifestyles and by getting the proper cancer screenings. Dr. Constance Lehman, professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and director of breast imaging at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance comments:

“I cannot stress enough the importance of early detection and screening. Unfortunately, there has been a disturbing decline in annual screenings, and people need to by proactive about working with their insurance and Medicare to get the recommended screenings.”

In order to help avoid the disease, the American Cancer Society recommends cancer screenings by age and gender. The recommendations are noted below.

Charitable donations are tax-deductible and can also help scientists find the next breakthrough cancer treatments.

Cancer Screenings for Men Age 65 or Older

Colon Cancer Testing

There are many colon cancer testing options. It’s important you talk with your health care provider about which tests are best for your unique situation and how often you should be tested. Medicare does cover testing.

Prostate Cancer Testing

It’s important to consider overall health status, not just age, when deciding about the best prostate cancer testing. Men who expect to live at least 10 more years should talk with a care provider about the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of testing to determine whether they want to be tested. Medicare covers prostate cancer testing.

Lung Cancer Testing

Seniors who smoke are more at risk for lung cancer and should discuss with their health care provider whether they should get an annual low-dose CT scan to screen for early lung cancer. Screening may benefit seniors who are either active or former smokers, who quit within the past 15 years, have no signs of lung cancer, and have a 30 pack-year* smoking history. You should discuss the benefits, limitations, and risks of screening with a health care provider before testing is done. Medicare covers testing.

*A pack-year is 1 pack of cigarettes per day per year. One pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years would both be 30 pack-years.

Cancer Screenings for Women Age 65 or Older

Breast Cancer Testing

It is important that women report any changes in the way their breasts look or feel to their caregiver and/or a healthcare provider right away. They should get a mammogram every 2 years, or can even choose to get one every year, if they fall in the risk category (breast cancer runs in their family or they’ve had breast tissue issues before). It’s important for seniors and their caregivers to understand the pros and cons of breast cancer screening.

It’s also important to know if a senior has a higher than average risk for breast cancer. Health care providers help you determine whether they senior needs to get other tests done along with mammograms.

Cervical Cancer Testing

No cervical cancer testing is needed if the senior has had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results during the previous 10 years.

No cervical testing is needed after a hysterectomy that removed the uterus and cervix as long as it was done for reasons not related to cervical cancer.

Senior women with a history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue testing for 20 years after that diagnosis, and the testing is covered by Medicare.

Colon Cancer Testing

Testing is recommended for colon cancer, and there are many testing options. It’s important to talk with a health care provider about which tests are best for you and how often testing should be done. Medicare covers colon cancer testing.

Lung Cancer Testing

If the senior has a history of smoking, talk to a health care provider about it and whether you should get an annual low-dose CT scan to screen for early lung cancer. Screening may benefit the senior if they are an active or former smoker who has quit within the past 15 years, have no signs of lung cancer, and have a 30 pack-year smoking history. It’s important to discuss the benefits, limitations, and risks of screening with a healthcare provider before testing is done. Medicare does cover lung cancer testing.

*A pack-year is 1 pack of cigarettes per day per year. One pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years would both be 30 pack-years.

Cancer Donations Go a Long Way

Donations towards medical testing help scientists find the next breakthrough cancer treatment. Without the financial contributions to support clinical trials, advancements can not be made.

DONATE NOW, as your tax-deductible donation funds lifesaving research, treatment and care — and means so much to those fighting cancer!

Please donate today.

Are you a caregiver or senior who has had to deal with cancer screening? Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for others? Please share them with us in the comments below.

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