Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month

Senior Care in Concord NC: Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month

Senior Care in Concord NC: Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month

May brings us Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month. Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States and Melanoma is the most serious of all skin cancers. Skin cancers are increasing in the elderly whose aging skin can make detection more difficult. This month of awareness is a good reminder to, as your parent’s family caregiver, make an appointment with your loved one’s dermatologist on a yearly basis.

 
Frequency
Melanoma is 10 times higher for older adults. The common changes that occur in aging skin as well as chronic illnesses can make noticing these skin lesions difficult at best. The increased risk in the elderly is most often due to accumulated ultraviolet radiation obtained from the sun. Smoking further increases the risk of skin cancer.

 
Prevention
There are several steps you and your loved ones can take to prevent skin cancer. Prevention is always better than having to treat a disease. Preventative techniques include:
• Wear clothes that cover up the body as much as possible.
• Wear wide-brimmed hats.
• Use sunscreen with UV protection. Reapply when outside every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
• Limit the time in the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM.
• Keep loved ones from burning by applying sunscreen. Sun burns increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

 
What to Look For
It’s a good idea to look over your parent’s skin once a month as it may be difficult for them or their eyesight may not be what it once was.
Unfortunately, melanoma can often be asymptomatic in seniors. The changes associated with the lesions such as size and shape are often missing and the itching that occurs in some individuals is often mistaken for another disease or dry skin. It commonly appears as an irregular lesion with notched borders that can be brown, black, blue or white.

 
Squamous cell carcinoma is apparent in lesions that are thick, pink and scaly. They can often be mistaken for a diabetic ulcer. This type of cancer is more prone to metastasizing and commonly appears on areas that experience more sun exposure such as the head, neck, lower arms, lower legs, and upper body.

 
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and the least dangerous. It occurs in those who are 80 and above more than any other age group. 75 percent of these occur on the head and neck. They are not easily detected, often appearing as a raised nodule that may bleed easy. Many people first notice them as a sore that does not heal.

 
Treatment
Treatment can be different for the elderly than for the younger populations. Their primary health care provider will be able to let you know the many options available. As a family caregiver with so much on your mind and plate, it can be difficult to remember all the yearly appointments your parent requires. One method is to select a check-up for every season. For instance, you could make their ophthalmologist appointment in the fall, their dermatologist in the spring, their regular check-up in the winter and their audiologist in the summer. Whatever system works for you to help you remember the appointments that can provide early detection of diseases and help your loved one remain vital and active into their senior years.

 

If you or someone you know needs senior care in Concord NC, contact the caregivers at Affordable HomeCare. We provide quality and affordable care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at (704) 323-5454 for more information.

Resources
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/770978_2

About Ted Nagraba

I am the Owner of Affordable HomeCare of Charlotte, North Carolina. Affordable HomeCare provides an alternative to the traditional solutions of nursing homes or other retirement institutions. Now, even with physical limitations, you can live the most independent and enjoyable life possible. With our personalized live-in or hourly care, you can continue to live in the comfort of your own home.
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