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Healthy aging and cancer screening

August 21, 2020

Healthy aging and cancer screening

Age is just a number. It does not define you or predict your destiny. In fact, even as a senior, your life can be better than ever before. You can exceed expectations! Just look at Sean Connery and Jane Fonda.

In honor of National Senior Citizens Day, here are some healthy preventive measures you can talk about with your health care provider.

  • Screen for health problems, even if you do not have symptoms. Many screenings are recommended for the general population, including those at average risk, such as screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer in women, hepatitis C (a leading cause of liver cancer) and colorectal cancer. Men, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of screening for prostate cancer. You may also opt to visit a dentist for an oral cancer screening or a dermatologist for a skin check.

Talk to your health care provider about screening for conditions like high blood pressure or high blood sugar, which generally do not cause symptoms.

  • Check for common problems that do cause symptoms, but may be overlooked. This includes things like depressive symptoms, vulnerability to falls, or even alcohol misuse.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your vaccines—you may need a booster!—and manage your medications to reduce the risk of a future illness. Check that you were vaccinated for hepatitis B, a leading cause of liver cancer.

Take the time to discuss your overall health and personal and family health histories with your health care provider. This will help you to make the best decisions regarding your health and preventive measures as you age.

For more information on cancer prevention and early detection (including when to get screened), visit www.preventcancer.org. Or check out the University of California at San Francisco’s easy-to-use online app to help older adults and families make cancer screening decisions.


Now is the time to get health screen­ings Back on the Books. It’s understandable you might be nervous about visiting your doctor or dentist while the coronavirus is still circulating. But rest assured that your health care providers are taking precautions to keep you and themselves as safe as possible. Talk to your provider’s office and ask what steps they are taking to limit risk of exposure.

Remind yourself every day to keep exploring and discovering new adventures, regardless of your age, to live a happier, healthier and more rewarding life.

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