Before you know it, summer will be here in full swing. And for most of us, that means more sun. While it gives life, feeds us beneficial vitamins and even helps control depression issues, the sun’s rays are also powerful enough to do some serious damage to our skin if we don’t exercise the proper precautions and protections while working, playing and bathing beneath them. This does not change one bit once our parents reach their senior years.
The Skin Cancer Foundation has some eye-popping figures to report. Between 40-50% of all Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once. Moreover, over half of all skin cancer-related deaths occur in individuals who are over 65. Also, did you know that suffering five sunburns in your lifetime more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma? That one really makes you think.
Over time, our skin naturally loses some of its abilities to fight off damage. When you add to this that many older adults do not practice the use of sunscreen due to upbringing, lack of proper education on the subject, cultural mores, or all of the above, you end up with a potential recipe for disaster.
Each year, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed than cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, combined. One is considered to be at a higher risk if he or she is white, has red or blond hair, blue eyes, and/or has regular exposure to sunlight or tanning booths. Unusual moles could also be a warning sign, especially if they change in size, shape or color, have irregular edges, are ulcerated or oozing fluid.
If you believe your elderly loved one is at risk, schedule a skin exam for them. Depending on the results, their physician may order a biopsy to investigate a sample. As is nearly always the case, the earlier the stage in which the cancer is found, the better the odds are for survival. If diagnosed, there are a number of treatments, ranging from radiation to surgery to chemotherapy to biologic therapy, in which the patient’s own immune system is used to fight cancer.
Of course, prevention is best. Have a chat with your mom and dad soon about the importance of wearing sunscreen. We’re all living longer than ever, so that leaves us even more exposed. A little sunscreen can go a long way as we go our long ways.
There is so much to think about when entering the later stages of life. If you are considering elder care options, we at 805Aging can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one.
We conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and every day.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website and sign up for our monthly newsletter: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents as they age. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. -Amy