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Potential Warning Signs of Cancer in the Elderly

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. People over age 65 are likely to make up a significant portion of this estimate because of their higher cancer risk. If you are concerned about your senior loved one’s chances of developing cancer, there are many common warning signs you can watch for, and Chandler, AZ, senior care experts have put together a list of a few to keep in mind.

Fever

Fevers develop when a senior’s body attempts to eradicate an infection. Though a sudden change in temperature is not necessarily a sign of cancer, your loved one should be taken to the emergency room if his or her temperature goes over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Fevers below this level can generally be treated with over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen, but always check with your loved one’s doctor first.

Weight Loss

When cancerous cells begin attacking a senior’s healthy cells, weight loss almost always occurs. According to the American Cancer Society, a loss of 10 or more pounds when no other lifestyle changes have been made should be addressed immediately. If your loved one is having a difficult time keeping his or her weight up, try offering high-calorie shakes in between his or her meals.

Chronic Fatigue

Every senior is going to feel tired at some point, but fatigue should not last for more than a few days. Because tumors often result in blood loss, chronic fatigue is another common symptom of cancer. You should be especially wary if your loved one’s tiredness is followed by other unusual symptoms such as abdominal pain, a hoarse cough, or weight loss.

Changes to the Skin

As your loved one grows older, his or her skin may change in a number of ways. Though minor discoloration and age spots are completely normal, these issues should only develop gradually. Sudden changes to the skin such as white spots around the mouth, raised growths, severe discoloration, and jaundice (yellow skin) should be tested immediately. Your loved one should also seek medical attention if the skin abnormalities are painful or excrete any fluid.

If your loved one needs help managing the symptoms of cancer or other serious health conditions, reach out to Chandler Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program designed to help seniors live longer and healthier lives. For more information on the live-in and respite home care Chandler families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 480.448.6215 to request a free consultation.