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Breast Cancer & the Elderly

The month of October is known for its beautiful fall foliage; colors of yellow, orange and red that dominate the landscape as autumn unfolds. In recent years, a new color has become a regular part of this scene: pink. Symbolizing breast cancer awareness, the color pink now appears throughout the month of October as a symbol of the fight to end breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, celebrated for the whole month of October, is an international health campaign that brings together a multitude of breast cancer charities. Their goal is to increase awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Breast cancer can strike anyone, at any age. While men can be affected, women are the primary demographic. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer afflicting women in America. The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will develop breast cancer.

Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast grow and divide out of control. These cells form a tumor which manifests as a lump that can sometimes be felt or seen on an X-Ray. Regular screenings for breast cancer should continue to be a part of a woman's health care plan no matter how old they are.

The elderly population is very susceptible to developing breast cancer. As with other medical diagnoses, there are certain risk factors you have no control over and cannot change. Age is one of those factors. As women age, their risk of breast cancer also increases. Most breast cancer diagnoses are detected in women 55 years and older.

The age at which a woman enters menopause can also have an effect on their risk for developing breast cancer. Researchers believe this is due to increased exposure to estrogen.

Elderly women afflicted with breast cancer often have other considerations that make the treatment of the cancer more challenging. Standard chemotherapy treatments are just as effective in older women as they are in the younger population. However, concerns including other co-morbidities, medications, and overall physical health and function should be taken into account.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is more focus on the signs, symptoms, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Use this heightened awareness to advocate for yourself or an elderly woman in your life. Tell your healthcare provider that a screening for breast cancer needs to be part of your annual wellness plan.

Educate yourself. Visit or to learn more about breast cancer and ways you can become involved in the fight to end breast cancer. For questions on treatment or therapy, you can also reach out to the Director of Nursing at the Heritage Health location nearest you.

Vohra Certification Received at Heritage Health in...
The Evolution of a Heritage of Care


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Friday, October 18, 2019

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