Health & Beauty

Age 50+ Common Cancers and Early Detection

April is Cancer Awareness Month!

If you're age 50+ or know an older adult or senior, there are some important things to know about common cancers for people age 50+ and the elderly, and early detection.

According to the American National Institute on Aging and the Canadian Cancer Society, although you are more likely to get cancer as you get older (even without inherited genetic factors), cancer and death rates from it are decreasing. In Canada, 89% of all new cases of cancer are found in people age 50 plus and older.

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Early Detection of Cancer

The good news is, your chances of surviving cancer today are better than ever before. Early detection and treatment courtesy of regular checkups with your doctor can make a significant difference in the outcome for seniors and people age 50+ that get cancer.

Cancer Symptoms for Older Adults

If you notice any of the symptoms below - it does NOT mean you have cancer! It does mean, that whether you're in pain or not, you should go see your doctor for a checkup and let him/her know if you've noticed:

  • lumps in/on your body
  • unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • abnormal bleeding or discharge
  • difficulty swallowing or discomfort after eating
  • wounds that don't heal
  • coughing or a hoarseness that doesn't stop
  • changes to urinary or bowel habits

Regular examinations and tests as suggested by your doctor are recommended for adults age 50 or over, for the following

Common Cancers for People Age 50+

Prostate Cancer - Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men and senior citizens age 65+. In Canadian men, prostate cancer is most common in men age 60-69. Physical examination by a doctor and a PSA test may be required.

Breast Cancer - Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer for Canadian women. The risk of breast cancer increases as women age, and regular breast examinations and mammograms for women over age 50; the majority of breast cancers are found in women age 50 - 69 (in Canada).

Colorectal Cancer - Most cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in people over age 50. Your doctor may suggest a fecal blood test, colonoscopy, and/or sigmoidoscopy.

Cervical Cancer - The risk of developing cervical cancer does not start decreasing until after age 65. Until then, regular PAP tests and pelvic examinations are recommended.

Lung Cancer - 95% of lung cancers in Canada occur in mature adults age 50+ and senior citizens.

Skin, Mouth and Throat Cancers - Regular visual examination by a doctor is recommended for early detection.

Anita Hamilton

Baby boomer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family (complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions), keeps her busy.

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