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How being older can affect cancer treatment
Author: Dawn Flemming
May 9th, 2017
Categories : Cancer

Age is the greatest risk factor for developing cancer. In fact, 60% of people who have cancer are 65 or older. So are 60% of cancer survivors.

According to, the following is how old age can affect cancer treatment:

Knowing how cancer and treatment might affect you as an older adult is important. You can plan to get help during treatment. If you are concerned about practical issues, such as getting to treatment or paying for it, tell your health care team. They can help you identify potential means of support.

The list below gives tips on planning for some common situations you might face as an older adult.

  • You have another disease or disability – Talk with your doctor about your medications and treatment plan for all your conditions. Make sure your cancer doctor talks with your other doctors. It is important for your entire health care team to know your situation.
  • You worry about getting to treatment and appointments -- Talk with family members and your health care team about options. Many cities have special bus services for people with health concerns. Other options include private medical transportation, rides from friends and family, and more. A social worker on your cancer care team can help you learn about your options.
  • You need help with daily activities – such as shopping, getting dressed, or taking care of your family. Options include getting help from friends or family members, hiring someone to help, or finding help through a nonprofit organization, senior center, or your spiritual community.
  • You need help with meals – Good nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. During treatment, older adults are especially likely to lose weight without trying. This can put you at risk of other health issues. Options include having friends or family bring food, stocking the pantry with foods that taste good to you, and ordering meals from a service, if your budget allows.

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