Cancer can affect people of all ages but certain cancers are more common in older people; examples of these cancers include bowel cancer and prostate cancer.

Bowel cancer

bowel cancer is most common amongst people aged between 60 and 70; the NHS currently runs a screening programme for bowel cancer for people aged between 60 and 69; you can ask your GP about details of this scheme. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Blood in the urine or faeces
  • Abdominal pains and cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss

Bowel cancer is usually treated using a combination of medication and radiotherapy; the chances of survival are much higher if the cancer is detected early. The risks of getting bowel cancer can be reduced by:

  • Cutting down on salt, fatty foods and foods that are high in cholesterol
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and foods that are high in fibre
  • Stopping smoking
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Attending a screening programme

Prostate cancer

prostate cancer is the most common form of male cancer; it is most common in men over the age of 55. Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Frequent need for urination
  • Sudden need for urination
  • Feeling of not having emptied the bladder (even after going to the loo)
  • Pain when urinating or ejaculating
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Pain in the joints and muscles

The prognosis for prostate cancer is good if the cancer is detected early and the cancer has not spread; usually, the prostate may be removed by means of surgery and radiotherapy or chemotherapy may also be used. People at risk of prostate cancer include:

  • People that are overweight or obese
  • People that have a family history of prostate cancer
  • People that are of African-Caribbean heritage
  • People that drink heavily on a regular basis

Guide to Elderly Health

Elderly health Intro



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Staying healthy