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Treating Cancer in Seniors[/caption]
As with many diseases, the risk of developing cancer increases with age. Therefore, cancer in seniors are quite common, where 60% of cancers in the United Stated have occurred in people aged 65 and over. Having mentioned that, age is just a number when it comes to treating the cancer in seniors. This is mainly due to the realization that each adult differ in their level of health and independence. Generally, age is not the only factor considered when considering the right treatment plan for cancer in seniors.
Treatment Plans for Cancer in Seniors
Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the many forms of treatments available for seniors diagnosed with cancer Seniors can also be treated with biological or hormone therapy. Stem cell transplantation may also be used as a weapon against cancer, in order to subject the person to high doses of radiation or chemotherapy. Nevertheless, some patients are known to respond well to a single form of treatment whereas some others respond well to a combination of treatments. Consequently, your doctor will analyze the condition of your parent or a loved one and will brief you on the best course of action.
Having mentioned that, these forms of treatments when administered take a particular 'route'. Either they work in a specific area of the body known as local therapy or throughout the body known as systemic therapy. Surgery to remove the malignant tumor or radiation therapy that destroys or shrinks the tumor are forms of local therapy as they destroy the cancer cells in only one part of the body. Whereas chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapy are different forms of systemic therapy that target the cancer cells throughout the elder persons's body. This form of treatment usually involves delivering drugs or other substances through the bloodstream to destroy targeted cells.
Side effects are very common in these forms of treatment. Therefore, it is better for you to arm yourself with information to be prepared. However, the side effects that cancer patients go through differ from one patient to the other and also changes from one treatment session to the other. Prior to the treatment your doctor will talk to you about the side effects your parent may go through and will give you plenty of information on how to manage it.
What should I ask my doctor before treatment?
- Has the cancer metastasized? Where to? What is the stage of the cancer?
- What treatment are you going to administer? Why this kind of treatment? What is the goal?
- What are the risks of this treatment?
- What are the side effects?
- What are the benefits of this treatment?
- How can I manage the side effects?
- What is the duration of the treatment? How often would the treatment be administered?
- What is the approximate cost of the recommended treatment?
- Will my insurance cover the cost of the treatment?
- What are the other new treatments that are being studies? Is a clinical trial suitable for my parent?