Cancer and Accelerated Aging

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

MARCH 03, 2017

We knew it all along! This is not exactly good news, but it surely confirms what every cancer survivor already knows: cancer treatment can accelerate the natural aging process both in the immediate time frame and later. Yes, we earned every one of our sags and wrinkles and, once it has returned, gray hairs. Now we know part of the explanation for why we never look exactly as we did before cancer and why, at least for me, we look older (or so we think) than our age.

Rather than carrying on with I told you so, here is the link to a podcast from Cancer Net. Listen and weep or listen and feel normalized and acknowledged.

Cancer, Its Treatment, and Accelerated Aging

Researchers are uncovering more evidence that cancer and its treatment are associated with accelerated aging. share on twitter This means that cancer survivors may experience the signs of aging earlier in life or in a way that is different from what is normally expected. Meanwhile, as treatments for cancer continue to improve, more people are surviving their diagnosis and living longer. Therefore, a key issue for older adults with cancer is recognizing and treating the effects that cancer treatment has on the aging process both now and in later years.

In this podcast, Drs. Hurria, Jones, and Muss discuss the current evidence surrounding accelerated aging in cancer and cancer treatment. They also talk about what oncology professionals are doing to identify, treat, and prevent it.

Major Discussion Points

What is accelerated aging and what does it mean for survivors? [2:40]

How can doctors detect accelerated aging? [4:00]

In what ways does cancer treatment make someone more likely to experience accelerated aging? [5:48]

What is being done to avoid these treatment side effects? [7:49]

What can survivors do to reduce the effects of accelerated aging? [9:23]

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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