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more than six weeks. The signs of arthritis are pain, tenderness or swelling in one or more joints, pain and stiffness in the morning, recurring or persistent pain and stiffness in the neck, lower back or knees. These symptoms may recede for a week or a month but return.


When cancers are detected early, they are more likely to be treated successfully. The chances of surviving cancer are better today than ever before. Since many cancers occur more often in people 50 or older, it is this age group that benefits most from a knowledge about these diseases. The common cancers and symptoms in people over 50 are as follows :

Lung: Cough that does not clear; blood coughing and breathlessness.

Breast: Lump in the breast, change in breast shape and discharge from the nipple.

Colon and rectum: Change in bowel habit, bleeding from rectum, blood in the stool, which appears red or black.

Uterus, ovary and cervix (women): Bleeding after menopause, unusual discharge, enlargement of the abdomen, pain during sexual intercourse.

Prostate: Difficulty and pain while voiding urine and need to urinate often especially at night.

Skin: Sore that does not heal, change in shape, size, colour of mole or sudden appearance of mole.

Throat and Voice box: Hoarseness of voice which is persistent; Difficulty and pain in swallowing.

Oesophagus: Difficulty in swallowing or a sensation of block in the gullet while eating.

If anyone of these symptoms are present, the elderlies should be advised to contact a doctor as soon as possible. The symptom mayor may not be due to Cancer. It is to be remembered that pain is not usual in the early stage of cancer. There is a tendency among the old people to attribute symptoms to growing older. Because of this wrong notion, many illnesses escape undetected and untreated. Even if there are no symptoms, it is useful to contact a doctor periodically for examination and have certain tests done especially when one is aged 50 and above. The following tests are suggested by the doctors:

(1) Guaiace test: This laboratory examination consist of testing for traces of blood in the stool, which can be an early symptom of cancer in the bowels, rectum or stomach.

(2) Rectal examination by the doctor can detect tumour of the prostate in men and rectal tumour in both men and women.

(3) Sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the rectum, part of colon with an instrument equipped with a light.

(4) Pelvic examination and PAP test: The pelvic examination is to check the female reproductive organs. A careful examination can detect early problems. PAP test, also called a PAP smear is usually done at the same time. It is a painless test, which

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