Breast cancer can develop at any age. Both men and women can get breast cancer, but women are much more likely to get it. In fact, it is the second most common type of cancer in women. Skin cancer is the first. If you have an aging family member who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have a lot of questions. Learning more is one of the best ways you can become a better caregiver for them.
Breast Cancer Basics
Breast cancer is a kind of cancer that initiates in the tissues of the breast. It happens when cells change and begin to grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. Usually, the tumor will begin in the milk ducts or glands. Sometimes the cancer is slow-growing, but at other times, it can grow rapidly and spread to other areas of the body. When that happens, doctors call it metastatic breast cancer. Around two-thirds of women who get breast cancer are age 50 or older. The rest are typically between ages 39 and 49.
The good news is that when breast cancer is detected early, treatment is often effective. This is especially true when the cancer has not spread. 90 percent of the time, the patient will live a minimum of five more years. Unfortunately, though, people who have had breast cancer often suffer recurrences.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes breast cancer to start. However, they do know that there are several risk factors that make it more likely for a person to get breast cancer. Some of those risk factors are:
- Gender: Women are more likely to get breast cancer than men.
- Age: Breast cancer is more common in women over the age of 50.
- Medical History: Women who have had certain breast conditions or have had breast cancer in the past are more likely to get it.
- Family History: Women with a close relative who has had breast cancer are at greater risk. However, people can still get the disease even if they don’t have a family history of it.
- Radiation: Having been treated with radiation therapy in or near the chest makes breast cancer more likely.
- Age at Menopause: Women who start menopause later in life have an increased risk.
- Age at First Child: Giving birth to a first child after the age of 30 increases the risk. Never having had a child does, too.
- Hormone Therapy: Taking a combination of estrogen and progesterone to treat menopause symptoms increases the risks, but the risks go down again when the treatment is stopped.
Although treatment of breast cancer is often successful, your aging relative will probably need some help. Contacting a senior care agency is an excellent first step in getting them they help they need. A senior care provider can drive them to treatment appointments and remind them to take any medications the doctor prescribes. Senior care can also take care of things around the house during treatment and recovery when the older adult may be too tired or weak to do it on their own.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Monroe, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.