Be Clear on Cancer: breast cancer in women over 70
1 in 3 women diagnosed with breast cancer in England each year are aged 70 and over. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England with around 44,300 women diagnosed each year.
Breast cancer survival is lower in older women and research shows they are more likely to delay presenting to their GP with breast cancer symptoms. If breast cancer is detected early, it is more treatable – early detection could save your life, or the life of your mum, aunt, grandma, partner, sister, niece, best friend or work colleague.
There are many symptoms to breast cancer, besides lumps, so we are urging women to understand what they are and to become breast aware.
It is important to get to know how your breasts look and feel normally, so that you'll find it easier to spot something unusual. Feel the whole of your breasts and your armpits. Does anything seem different? Look at your breasts in the mirror. Do they appear to have changed at all? If you notice an unusual change, tell your doctor.
Possible signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
- Changes to the skin of your breast
- Changes in the shape, size or feel of your breast
- Nipple changes
- Nipple discharge
- Pain in your breast
- Any other unusual or persistent changes to your breasts
If you have any of the above symptoms, your doctor will want to see you.
Dr Graham Lewis, GP chair of Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
"If you notice any changes in your breasts, it is important that you contact your doctor straight away. You're not wasting anyone's time and it's much better to be sure, if only to put your mind at rest. Finding breast cancer early makes it more treatable. A trip to the GP practice could save your life. And if a friend or relative says they have any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor. I encourage all women aged 70 or over to continue to check their breasts and to come forward to see their GP if they notice any changes."
For more information visit the website nhs.uk/breastcancer70 or to talk in confidence about cancer, call Cancer Research's UK's information nurses on Freephone 0808 8004040