The possibility of developing breast cancer can be a frightening prospect for elderly women. One of the ways they can prevent this type of cancer or catch it in its earliest stages is to get mammograms. However, there seem to be just as many reasons to avoid getting mammograms as there are to have them done. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a mammogram at the age of 65 and beyond.
Increased Risk of Breast Cancer with Age
As your senior loved one ages, her odds of developing breast cancer increase, and it’s a good idea for her to schedule a mammogram every 1 to 2 years. Women who live to be 80 have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer. Because women can develop breast cancer over the course of a lifetime, your loved one’s absolute risk increases the longer she lives. Her relative risk depends on various factors like smoking.
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Although senior women should be tested for breast cancer more frequently than younger women, these screenings increase the risk of false positive results. Many older women who have mammograms will be called back for more testing. Most of the time the doctor’s suspicion turns out not to be cancer. However, this type of stress isn’t emotionally healthy. The anxiety false positives cause could lead to more serious concerns like strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease. Because senior women are at higher risk for being called back for false positives, mammograms done beyond the age of 65 can be detrimental for their emotional, physical, and mental health.
Normal breast tissue sometimes hides cancer, which means your loved one can be tested and think everything is fine when she is actually living with breast cancer. This is why having a breast MRI or ultrasound is a good idea for women beyond age 65. There are other forms of breast imaging that could help your loved one prevent a false negative diagnosis.
Always make sure your loved one checks with her doctor to see if she needs a mammogram. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Edmonton seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Dying as a Result of Avoiding Mammograms
Failing to get a mammogram can increase the risk of dying from breast cancer. The sooner your loved one is diagnosed, the sooner she can receive treatment for the disease. Women over 65 with breast cancer are more likely to benefit from treatment because a large percentage of them have either moderate or poorly differentiated breast cancer. Tumours found in younger women are more aggressive than the tumours senior women tend to develop. Without a mammogram, breast cancer may go undetected and worsen.
In addition to regular health screenings, healthy lifestyle habits are essential for helping older adults maintain a high quality of life. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elder care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your parent, give us a call at (780) 490-7337 today.