Which Cancer Screenings Are Recommended For Seniors?

healthy seniors enjoying time together

Screening recommendations change with age. Learn more about recommended screenings for seniors.

healthy seniors enjoying time togetherWhen you’re caring for a senior loved one, you may notice that there are more – and different – health related tasks to think about than at other stages of life. One aspect of care that changes in later adulthood is preventive health care, particularly the recommendations for cancer screenings.

That’s why we’re offering this overview of some common cancer screenings that are recommended for seniors. Read on for information about why recommendations change with age, and the types of screenings that are often recommended for seniors.

This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or to recommend medical treatment. Please consult with a physician for personalized recommendations about preventive care.

Why Do Recommendations for Cancer Screenings Change with Age?

Regular screenings are enormously beneficial for detecting slow growing cancers in order to start treatment early. However, there are some risks associated with screenings. For younger adults, the benefits of early detection far outweigh the risks. For older adults, some of the risks may outweigh the benefits.

The risks for older seniors might include complications from more invasive tests (such as sedation for a colonoscopy) and false positives that require additional medical procedures.

Recommended Screenings for Seniors

As adults age, some familiar screenings are recommended with less frequency or not at all. Because many recommendations vary depending on individual health status, be sure to discuss screenings with your loved one’s physician.

Following are some common screening recommendations, based on information from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. Be aware that recommendations from different health organizations may vary, so it is important to talk with your loved one’s physician and care team before making any changes.

Screenings for Women

  • Breast Cancer: Mammograms are recommended every one to two years until age 75. For women who have been treated for breast cancer, the decision to continue mammograms after age 75 should be made in consultation with a physician, based on treatment history and the woman’s overall health.  
  • Cervical Cancer: After age 65, those who had regular testing with normal results during the previous 10 years can discontinue testing. Testing also is not needed if the cervix was removed surgically for reasons not related to cervical cancer or pre-cancer. People with a history of a significant cervical pre-cancer should continue testing for 25 years after that diagnosis.

Screenings for Men

  • Prostate Cancer: After age 65, the decision to continue screenings is based on overall health status and history rather than age.

Screenings for Everyone

  • Colon Cancer: Regular screenings and testing are recommended until age 75. From age 76 to 85, the recommendations vary depending on medical history. After age 85, screenings are not necessary unless specifically recommended by a physician.
  • Lung Cancer: A physician may recommend an annual low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer for those with a significant history of smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, screening may be of benefit for current smokers, and those who quit within the past 15 years and have no signs of lung cancer.

Managing Preventive Screenings for Seniors

The support of a trusted care team can be helpful in making recommendations for preventive screenings based on age and individual health, and in helping with coordination of services. Before making any changes – for yourself or your loved one – be sure to check with a care provider and provide a full medical history.

Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor

When it is time to make decisions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.

Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.

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