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.

cancer tests, dna genotyping, dna sequencing, detecting cancer, cancer symptoms and cures, common cancers, (Photo: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash)

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.

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

Common Cancers for People Age 50+

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

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.

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or mental health advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician or mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & writer Anita Hamilton's articles are inspired by real historical events, places, and people. Her travel experiences, a lifelong keen interest in history, art, vintage music, books, silent films, classic movies, "golden age" television shows, fashion, & entertainment in general - combined with years of research - make her a subject matter expert with acquired knowledge & expertise on these topics. This, and a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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