“Many people over 50 ignore the early warning signs of cancer. They
believe there’s nothing they can do about cancer, or maybe they’re
too old to do anything about it,” says
Hugo Hool, M.D., an oncologist with the
Torrance Memorial Physician Network.
“However, there is something we can do about it, especially in the
early stages, and treatment is very well tolerated, even by older seniors.
The clinical benefit in those over the age of 70 is just as great as those
Advances in Cancer Treatment
Advances in cancer care over the last decade have made it easier and more
comfortable to treat cancer at
Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s Hunt Cancer Institute.
“The misconception is that the science is slow to progress,”
says Dr. Hool. “But we have breakthroughs on a daily basis. Just
five years ago our only choice was hormonal therapy or chemo for prostate
cancer. Now we have amino therapy, multiple lines of hormonal therapy
and a variety of chemotherapies and immunotherapy. We also have additional
supportive therapies that make chemo more tolerable and improve patient
quality of life.”
Chances of successfully curing your cancer increase the earlier you seek
How to Diagnose Cancer
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to visit
your primary care physician to receive routine health screenings,”
says Dr. Hool.
During your regular visits with your primary care physician you should
receive routine cancer screenings such as:
- A fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or barium
enema to detect colon cancer.
- Mammography and a clinical breast exam to detect breast cancer in women.
- A Pap test and pelvic exam to detect cervical and vaginal cancers in women.
- A PSA blood test and digital rectal exam to detect prostate cancer in men.
If tests confirm that cancer is growing in the body, Dr. Hool and his colleagues
stage and evaluate the cancer.
“Staging is basically identifying where the disease is and where
it is not. Whether it is aggressive or not aggressive,” says Dr.
Hool. “Based on that information we create a treatment plan that
is individualized for each patient.”
In addition to routine visits to your doctor, Dr. Hool urges all seniors
to watch for signs and symptoms of cancer.
“I would advise any senior to be on the lookout for fatigue, weight
loss or lack of appetite. Any skin changes or discolorations, unusual
bleeding or pain,” says Dr. Hool. “Even a cough that does
not go away over a period of time. Any sudden change in your health is
cause for concern.”
If you experience any of these warning signs of cancer, Dr. Hool encourages
you to make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as
possible to discuss your symptoms.
Besides regular screenings, your biggest safeguard against cancer is improving
your general health. Work with your doctors to control your blood sugar,
blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight. Keeping each within healthy
range as well as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can dramatically
reduce your risk of developing most cancers.
For more information, contact Hugo Hool, M.D. Oncologist Torrance Memorial
Physician Network. 514 N. Prospect, Redondo Beach. 310-750-3300. Dr. Hool
accepts Torrance Memorial IPA patients.