Elderly adults have a greater risk of developing melanoma than ever before, but it’s increasingly difficult for them to spot the warning signs of the disease. Whether it’s from poor vision, memory loss or simply not being flexible enough to do a good self-examination, aging adults face challenges in looking out for telltale symptoms of melanoma. Family caregivers and home health care providers need to do periodic checkups of the aging adult’s skin as they shower and dress them to identify anything unusual.
What are the Risk Factors for Melanoma?
The best way for elderly adults, family caregivers and home health care providers to detect possible melanoma is to do a serious mole check a couple of times per year. If the aging adult meets several of the risk factors, a more frequent assessment may be needed. Risk factors include a history of melanoma, having red or light blond hair, freckled, blue eyes and a lifetime of exposure to sunlight, such as working an outdoor job. While melanoma can develop in anyone, these characteristics are most likely to lead to problems.
Symptoms of Melanoma in Seniors
Most melanoma appears as a mole on the skin. It could be from an existing mole or a new one could develop. Family caregivers and home health care providers should be on the lookout for any moles that change their appearance. The change could be in the color, size, shape or symmetry of the mole. Pre-cancerous moles often have irregular borders and may itch or bleed. Another warning sign is the sudden appearance of new moles around an existing mole. If any area of the skin looks suspicious, family caregivers should arrange for a doctor’s visit soon.
Options for Treating Melanoma
If melanoma is suspected, the doctor will most likely do a biopsy to take a closer look at the skin in question. They will remove much of the suspicious skin and send it to a lab. Technicians will be able to see if there are any cancer cells using a microscope. If there are cancer cells detected, treatment will depend a lot on the depth of the cancer cells into the skin, the size of the affected area and the elderly person’s overall health. Once the doctor knows the stage of the cancer, they can plan an effective treatment. When detected early, most people recover fully from skin cancer.
Family caregivers are responsible for the health and wellness of their aging relative. It makes sense that they pay attention to a number of skin and mole symptoms that could indicate the presence of melanoma.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Statesville NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail.