Colorectal cancer is a term used to include cancer that started in either the colon or the rectum. Individuals over the age of 50 have a higher risk of developing this cancer than younger people, so it’s important for you and your parent to recognize the symptoms in case they develop.
Because of its location and the symptoms that develop, some elderly people are hesitant or embarrassed to talk to someone about their symptoms until it’s too late. Having a conversation now with your parent to let him know the importance of truthful conversations around anything bothering him is a good way to alleviate his fears. Your parent needs to have confidence that anything he shares with you or his elderly care provider will be treated with care and respect. As his caregiver, one of your roles is to ensure his good health is maintained and one of the best ways to do that is through open and honest communication.
While the symptoms listed below can be symptoms of many diseases and conditions, if your parent is struggling with any of them, you should plan a visit to his physician to discuss. His physician will then determine if your parent should have further tests to diagnose what is happening in his body. Visiting the doctor with him will help ensure that the doctor is informed of everything occurring as well as help you to fully gather all of the information the doctor will present to your parent.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms:
- A persistent change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of his stool is often the first symptom of colorectal cancer. Someone with colon cancer may find that his stool is almost black, much smaller and possibly tainted with blood. Letting your parent know that it’s okay to talk about such taboo subjects as stool with his doctor, you and even his elderly care provider is an important step in keeping him healthy.
- If your parent is experiencing reoccurring abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, that aren’t relieved by over-the-counter medications, this could be another symptom of colorectal cancer.
- If your parent is feeling like he needs to continually empty his bowels, but nothing happens, this is also sometimes a symptom of colorectal cancer.
- If your parent has lost his appetite and/or is losing a lot of weight unexpectedly, they might be a symptoms of a lot of health issues, but they could also indicate colorectal cancer. Have your elderly care provider help by checking your parent’s weight on a home scale to keep on top of weight loss.
- Extreme fatigue and weakness can take over your parent’s body as he is fighting off the cancerous cells. Colon cancer can also lead to anemia caused by iron deficiency, which will also lead to weakness and fatigue.
Since most of these symptoms will not present themselves until after your parent has colorectal cancer, the better alternative is to have him regularly screened for colorectal cancer. During his next visit with his physician, make sure he is scheduled for regular preventative checkups. Catching it early is the best defense for colorectal cancer.
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Manhattan, NY, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (212) 845-9854