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Baby Boomers are Being Hit With a Lot of Cancer

Harold Mandel's picture
A woman getting a healthy massage

Cancer is threatening baby boomers in higher proportions and if it's not you, who is hit with it, someone close to you may be at higher risk. Cancer can be a devastating illness which is attacking baby boomers in greater numbers as they age and which actually concerns everyone throughout their lives. Increased awareness of how to try to prevent cancer with better nutrition, avoidance of toxins in food and the environment, more exercise, adequate rest, and safer sex practices have not had nearly as much of an impact on cancer as we would like to have seen. In fact recent research shows that cancer is being diagnosed at higher rates as baby boomers age.

There is now an urgency to work towards improving the quality of cancer care as the population ages, as reported upon in a research article in JAMA. Challenges in cancer care are being magnified because cancer has now become an integral part of the aging phenomenon. As we have been witnessing the first wave of baby boomers to enter Medicare it has been observed that cancer is being diagnosed at higher rates and accounts for a higher percentage of survivors, while also resulting in more deaths of people who are 65 years and older.

There are about 10,000 people reaching age 65 years daily. With this large aging population the incidence of cancer is anticipated to increase by 67 percent among this population from 2010 to 2030. This is presenting the medical profession with a crisis in cancer care. More funding and manpower will be needed to confront this problem.

This crisis has focused attention on the nation's response to cancer care, reports The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in a review of this research. As the population ages, we are seeing that cancer is diagnosed at a higher rate and accounts for more survivors with also more deaths than in younger patients.

Members of the Institute of Medication Committee on Improving the Quality of Cancer Care have written, “The increase in the number of older adults, the association of cancer with aging, the workforce shortage, and the financial stressors across the health care system and family networks all contribute to a crisis in cancer care that is most pronounced in the older population.” Caregiving for sufferers of cancer is often shared by a family member who is also aging. Mary D. Naylor, PhD, who has an expertise in Gerontology, has said, “We need to address the physical, psychological, financial and emotional tolls on caregivers by developing more effective ways to prepare and support them.”

The authors have noted potential improvements to cancer care among older persons, which including:

1: Passing new laws extending the time period for clinical trials in order to include more older adults.

2: Letting the patients decide what works. The authors have recommended “publicly reported, robust measures of patient reported outcomes meaningful for this population.”

3: Establishing a national workforce commission “to plan for the challenges of an aging population and the complexity of care required by older adults with cancer, including a workforce that values multidisciplinary teams and geriatrics principles."

Due to concerns about side effects and failures to cure cancer which are often associated with orthodox treatment for cancer, people are often very interested in information about alternative or complementary therapy. The American Cancer Society writes that many people with cancer use one or more types of alternative or complementary therapies. In this regard diet it often recognized as having an impact on cancer. There are many foods that may cause cancer, as reported on by EmaxHealth reporter Deborah Mitchell.

There are many types of complementary medicine which you can safely use along with standard treatment to help relieve symptoms or side effects, to decrease pain, and to help you enjoy your life more. A good idea is to use methods that don’t generally cause harm and will not interfere with your cancer treatment. Following is a partial list of various complementary methods that many people have found helpful and safe when they used along with standard medical treatment:

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1: Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a technique in which very thin needles are used to treat a number of symptoms. Acupuncture may help with mild pain and some types of nausea.

2: Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant substances, which are called essential oils. These substances are distilled from plants to alter mood or improve symptoms such as stress or nausea.

3: Art therapy: Art therapy is used to assist people with physical and emotional problems by using creative activities to help them express emotions.

4: Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a treatment method which uses monitoring devices to help people gain conscious control over various physical processes that are generally controlled automatically, such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, sweating, and muscle tension.

5: Labyrinth walking: This involves a meditative walk taken along a set circular pathway that goes to the center and comes back out.

6: Massage therapy: Good professional massage involves manipulation, rubbing, and kneading of the body’s muscle and soft tissue. It has been suggested by some studies that massage can decrease stress, anxiety, depression, and pain and increase alertness.

7: Meditation: Meditation is a mind-body process in which a person uses concentration or reflection to help to relax the body and calm the mind.

8: Music therapy: Music therapy may be offered by trained healthcare professionals who use music to promote healing and improve quality of life.

9: Prayer and spirituality: Spirituality is generally described as being an awareness of something which is greater than the individual self.

10: Tai chi: Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art form. This is based on a mind-body system that uses movement, meditation, and breathing to improve health and well being.

11: Yoga: Yoga is a form of non-aerobic exercise which involves a program of precise posture and breathing activities.

I have discussed changes which you can make to avoid deadly pancreatic cancer in a separate article for EmaxHealth.

It has been my observation that cancer is often taken too lightly until it strikes. This is not the right attitude in dealing with cancer, in view of the possibility of prevention and cures when cancer is approached aggressively and early. It is suggested that you eat nutritious food consisting of a lot of fruit and vegetables, get adequate rest and exercise daily, and avoid smoking and too much alcohol in order to help prevent cancer. It is also advisable to stay abreast of toxins in food and the environment which you may be able to avoid to help lower your chances of getting cancer. And if you do get cancer, you should work very closely with an oncologist, and also a naturopath if you desire, to give you the best chance possible to beat cancer. Many types of cancer really can be cured with proper treatment.