ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Cancer Screening in the Older Patient - Article
ABSTRACT: Although there are clear guidelines that advise at what age to begin screening for various cancers, there is less guidance concerning when it may be appropriate to stop screening. The decision to stop screening must take into account patients' age; overall health and life expectancy; the natural history of the disease; and the risks, expense, and convenience of the screening test, and any subsequent testing and treatment. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Academy of Family Physicians suggest that Papanicolaou smears can be discontinued in women at 65 years of age, provided they have had adequate recent normal screenings. Evidence suggests that cessation of breast cancer screening at approximately 75 to 80 years of age is appropriate, although American Geriatric Society guidelines recommend cessation at a more advanced age. Studies support continuing colon cancer screening until approximately 75 years of age in men and 80 years of age in women for patients without significant comorbidities. Prostate cancer screening, if conducted at all, may be discontinued at approximately 75 years of age in otherwise healthy men. Ultimately, the decision to screen or to discontinue screening must be made after careful discussion with each patient, using evidence-based guidelines and individual patient preferences.
Common Oral Conditions in Older Persons - Article
ABSTRACT: Older persons are at risk of chronic diseases of the mouth, including dental infections (e.g., caries, periodontitis), tooth loss, benign mucosal lesions, and oral cancer. Other common oral conditions in this population are xerostomia (dry mouth) and oral candidiasis, which may lead to acute pseudomembranous candidiasis (thrush), erythematous lesions (denture stomatitis), or angular cheilitis. Xerostomia caused by underlying disease or medication use may be treated with over-the-counter saliva substitutes. Primary care physicians can help older patients maintain good oral health by assessing risk, recognizing normal versus abnormal changes of aging, performing a focused oral examination, and referring patients to a dentist, if needed. Patients with chronic, disabling medical conditions (e.g., arthritis, neurologic impairment) may benefit from oral health aids, such as electric toothbrushes, manual toothbrushes with wide-handle grips, and floss-holding devices.
Breast Cancer in Older Women - Article
ABSTRACT: The American Geriatric Society currently recommends screening mammography for women up to 85 years of age whose life expectancy is three years or longer. The value of clinical breast examinations in older women needs further study. Total mastectomy and partial mastectomy with postoperative radiation therapy yield similar results in localized breast cancer. Postoperative irradiation may be avoided in women with small tumors (2.5 cm or less in diameter) who have undergone quadrantectomy. Lymph node dissection is important for tumor staging but significantly increases the risks and morbidity of surgery. Lymph node mapping may obviate the need for lymphadenectomy in many older women. Adjuvant hormonal therapy for at least two years appears to be beneficial in all women with hormone-receptor-rich tumors. Adjuvant chemotherapy is indicated in women with lymph node involvement or high-risk tumors with no lymph node involvement. Unless life-threatening metastases are present, hormonal therapy is the first approach to metastatic cancer. Chemotherapy is indicated if endocrine therapy is unsuccessful or life-threatening metastases are present. Most chemotherapy regimens appear to be well tolerated, even by women over 70 years of age. Special treatment should be employed for metastases to tumor sanctuaries (i.e., brain, eyes), the long bones, the spine and the chest wall.
ABSTRACT: Hoarseness is the term often used by patients to describe changes in their voice quality. The causes of hoarseness are determined after obtaining a detailed medical history of the circumstances preceding the onset of hoarseness and performing a thorough physical examination. The latter may include visualization of the vocal cords, possibly using indirect laryngoscopy, flexible nasolaryngoscopy or strobovideolaryngoscopy. In the absence of an upper respiratory tract infection, any patient with hoarseness persisting for more than two weeks requires a complete evaluation. When the patient has a history of tobacco use, cancer of the head and neck must be considered and ruled out. Voice abuse is one of the most common causes of hoarseness and can lead to other vocal pathologies such as vocal nodules. Good vocal hygiene can prevent and treat some pathologies, and voice therapy is a cornerstone of management in some cases of hoarseness.
ABSTRACT: Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin malignancy. While this lesion most often occurs in sun-exposed areas of the skin, it can also develop in sites that are not usually exposed to sunlight or artificial ultraviolet radiation, such as the breast, palm or groin. A periodic complete examination of the skin should be performed to ensure that atypical presentations of basal cell carcinoma are not overlooked or misdiagnosed. Treatment options include curettage and desiccation, cryosurgery, surgical excision, radiotherapy and Mohs micrographic surgery.
Constipation in the Elderly - Article
ABSTRACT: Constipation affects as many as 26 percent of elderly men and 34 percent of elderly women and is a problem that has been related to diminished perception of quality of life. Constipation may be the sign of a serious problem such as a mass lesion, the manifestation of a systemic disorder such as hypothyroidism or a side effect of medications such as narcotic analgesics. The patient with constipation should be questioned about fluid and food intake, medications, supplements and homeopathic remedies. The physical examination may reveal local masses or thrombosed hemorrhoids, which may be contributing to the constipation. Visual inspection of the colon is useful when no obvious cause of constipation can be determined. Treatment should address the underlying abnormality. The chronic use of certain treatments, such as laxatives, should be avoided. First-line therapy should include bowel retraining, increased dietary fiber and fluid intake, and exercise when possible. Laxatives, stool softeners and nonabsorbable solutions may be needed in some patients with chronic constipation.
ABSTRACT: Factors associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) include increasing age, rheumatic heart disease, poor left ventricular function, previous myocardial infarction, hypertension and a past history of a thromboembolic event. Patients with AF should be considered for anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy based on the patient's age, the presence of other risk factors for stroke and the risk of complications from anticoagulation. In general, patients with risk factors for stroke should receive warfarin anticoagulation, regardless of their age. In patients who are under age 65 and have no other risk factors for stroke, either aspirin therapy or no therapy at all is recommended. Aspirin or warfarin is recommended for use in patients between 65 and 75 years of age with no other risk factors, and warfarin is recommended for use in patients without risk factors who are older than 75 years of age.
ABSTRACT: In most cases, the evaluation of urinary incontinence requires only a history, a physical examination, urinalysis and measurement of postvoid residual urine volume. The initial purposes of the evaluation are to identify conditions requiring referral or specialized work-up and to detect and treat reversible causes that may be present. If the patient does not appear to require referral and a reversible cause is not identified, the next step is to categorize the patient's symptoms as typical of either urge or stress incontinence and treat the patient accordingly. If treatment fails or a presumptive diagnosis of urge or stress incontinence cannot be reached, the final step would be to perform more sophisticated tests or refer the patient for testing to define the cause and determine the best treatment.
ABSTRACT: In the United States, prostate cancer is the most common solid tumor malignancy in men and second to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in this group. Even though prostate cancer is responsible for 40,000 deaths per year, screening programs are a matter of controversy because scientific evidence is lacking that early detection decreases morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, treatment decisions are difficult to make because of the generally indolent nature of prostate cancer and because it tends to occur in older men who often have multiple, competing medical illnesses. Depending on the specific situation, radical prostatectomy, radiotherapy or watchful waiting (observation) will be the most appropriate management option. In general, localized cancer is best treated with surgical removal of the prostate gland or radiotherapy. Hormone deprivation therapy is the primary method of controlling metastatic prostate cancer. At present, chemotherapy cannot cure disseminated prostate cancer. Watchful waiting is a reasonable management alternative for prostate cancer in an older patient or a patient with other serious illnesses.
Health Screening in Older Women - Article
ABSTRACT: Health screening is an important aspect of health promotion and disease prevention in women over 65 years of age. Screening efforts should address conditions that cause significant morbidity and mortality in this age group. In addition to screening for cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and cancer, primary care physicians should identify risk factors unique to an aging population. These factors include hearing and vision loss, dysmobility or functional impairment, osteoporosis, cognitive and affective disorders, urinary incontinence and domestic violence. Although screening for many conditions cannot be proved to merit an "A" recommendation (indicating conclusive proof of benefit), special attention to these factors can decrease morbidity and improve quality of life in aging women.