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