Resources for Seniors

What You Should Know About Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer is rarely painful so be vigilant about checking your skin for changes such as a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal or a bleeding mole.

Skin cancer is rarely painful so be vigilant about checking your skin for changes such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal or a bleeding mole.

Skin cancer is a very common type of cancer in the United States. The main cause of skin cancer is the sun. Sunlamps and tanning booths can also cause skin cancer. Anyone can get cancer, but people with fair skin that freckles easily are at greatest risk. Skin cancer may be cured if it is found before it spreads to other parts of the body.

Types of Skin Cancers

There are three types of skin cancers. Two types, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma , grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body. These types of cancer are found mostly on parts of the skin exposed to the sun, like the head, face, neck, hands, and arms, but can happen anywhere on your body. The third and most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma. It is rarer than the other types, but can spread to other organs and be deadly.

Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body. In men, melanoma is often found on the trunk (the area from the shoulders to the hips) or the head and neck. In women, melanoma often develops on the arms and legs, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Melanoma Risk Factors

  • Unusual moles.
  • Exposure to natural sunlight.
  • Exposure to artificial ultraviolet light (tanning booth).
  • Family or personal history of melanoma.
  • Being white and older than 20 years.
  • Red or blond hair.
  • White or light-colored skin and freckles.
  • Blue eyes.

Checking for Skin Cancer

Check your skin once a month for things that may be cancer. Skin cancer is rarely painful. Look for changes such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a bleeding mole. Also, check moles, birthmarks, or other parts of the skin for the “ABCDE’s.” ABCDE stands for:

A = Asymmetry (one half of the growth looks different from the other half)

B = Borders that are irregular

C = Color changes or more than one color

D = Diameter greater than the size of a pencil eraser

E = Evolving; this means the growth changes in size, shape, symptoms (itching, tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or shades of color.

See your doctor right away if you have any of these signs.

Sources National Institutes of Health Senior Health; National Cancer Institute


7 Simple Steps For A Healthier Heart

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Taking good care of your heart and helping to prevent heart disease may be as easy as following 7 simple steps, reports the American Heart Association, which designed My Life Check®, a simple health assessment and improvement tool that you can do right now.

To complete the assessment, go to their site, click on My Heart Score, which directs you to create a profile. You will then be prompted to take the My Life Check Health Assessment & Challenge, which will produce your heart health score and recommendations to improve your health outlook. It shouldn’t take longer than five minutes.

Here are Life’s Simple 7 from the American Heart Association:

Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.
Learn how to manage your blood pressure.

Control Cholesterol
High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.
Learn how to control your cholesterol.


Reduce Blood Sugar

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. 
Learn how to reduce your blood sugar.


Get Active 

Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.
Learn how to get active.


Eat Better
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy – for life!
Learn how to eat better.


Lose Weight

When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your blood pressure and you help yourself feel better, too.
Learn how to lose weight.


Stop Smoking

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
Learn how to stop smoking.


Symptoms Of Ovarian Cancer Not Easy To Detect

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Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often misdiagnosed, as they can be confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal complaints.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often misdiagnosed, as they can be confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal complaints.

Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all female cancers. The cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages.

This is partly due to the fact that the ovaries, two small, almond-shaped organs on either side of the uterus, are deep within the abdominal cavity. The following are often identified by women as some of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or menstrual changes

 

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often misdiagnosed, as they can be confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal complaints.

Persistence of Symptoms

When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Persistence of symptoms is key. Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only approximately 19 percent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form.

There is no routine, simple test to accurately detect ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed annually in nearly a quarter of a million women globally, and is responsible for 140,000 deaths each year. Statistics show that just 45% of women with ovarian cancer are likely to survive for five years compared to up to 89% of women with breast cancer.

Fact: Many women mistakenly believe a cervical smear test (or Pap test) will detect ovarian cancer. It does not. It detects pre-cancerous changes to cells of the cervix, which is treated much more successfully than ovarian cancer.

Sources National Ovarian Cancer Coalition; World Ovarian Cancer Day

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