October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and now is the time for all senior women who are 65 or older to schedule their mammograms and learn more about breast cancer. The most important thing that women over 65 and their families should know is that the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
Typically women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are in their 40s, but every year the risks of developing breast cancer increase. 43% of the women who get breast cancer are 65 or older. Don’t think that just because you’re past menopause you’re not at risk for breast cancer. If your mother, sister, cousin, or other close female relative has had breast cancer that can increase the chances that you might develop it too. It’s essential for all women over the age of 65 to be getting regular mammograms and conducting self-exams.
Some of the other things that senior women and their families should know about breast cancer are:
Age Is A Risk Factor
The two largest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and being over the age of 60. That doesn’t mean that all senior women will develop breast cancer.
Other factors like whether or not you’ve had a close relative who had breast cancer and your genetic predisposition to cancer also affect your chances of developing breast cancer. But it’s important to know that your risk goes up every year just because you are aging.
Early Detection Is Crucial
When breast cancer is detected early the possibility for successful treatment increases substantially. Among women who are diagnosed relatively early the survival rate is excellent. About 90% of women treated are cancer free five years after the ending of their treatment.
About 83% of women who were treated were cancer free ten years after the end of their treatment. Because early detection can directly affect the chances of recovery women who are aging should get mammograms regularly.
Help Is Available During Treatment
Senior women who are aging in place and need to undergo treatment for breast cancer may worry about how they will get through the treatment. Home care is available for senior women who need help at home during cancer treatment.
With home care you or your senior parent will have help cooking meals, shopping, getting to medical appointments, and help with the housework and other chores. Home care takes the burden of day to day housekeeping and living off of someone who is fighting cancer so that they can focus on getting healthy.
A Healthy Lifestyle Can Help
While there’s no proven way to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that your immune system is strong is a good way to give your body the tools it needs to fight disease. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and make sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.