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​Be clear on cancer, older women urged 

Richmond women aged 70 and over are being urged to be aware of the key symptoms of breast cancer and to discuss any concerns with their doctor straight away so the disease can be diagnosed as early as possible. A national NHS campaign to help prevent breast cancer in older women is being supported locally by the Cabinet Member for Public Health. Who as a survivor of breast cancer, is calling on older women to be breast aware.

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer for women in the borough. Nationally one in three women with the disease are over 70 and the older you are the more likely you are to get it. Women over the age of 70 can ask for NHS breast screening every three years, even though they are not routinely invited for screening. The earlier cancer is diagnosed the more likely treatment is to be successful.

The Council’s public health team and Richmond CCG are working with local partners to get the message out to women that they should get to know how their breasts look and feel at different times, and should tell their doctor if they notice any changes. 

Cllr Lisa Blakemore, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 – and thanks to early diagnosis, I survived. One in three women who get breast cancer are over 70, so it's important that they are aware of the symptoms. A lump is not the only sign of breast cancer so as soon as any woman notices any changes in her breasts, she should visit her GP.

“The key thing to remember is that the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival. More than 90% of all women diagnosed with the earliest stage of breast cancer survive their disease for at least five years.”

Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and chair of Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We know that some women may feel scared and delay getting checked, but the earlier the diagnosis the more effective the treatment is likely to be. We are urging women of any age to get to know their body by looking at and feeling their breasts regularly. If they notice any unusual changes then it is important that they make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.”

To talk in confidence about cancer, call Cancer Research UK’s information nurses on Freephone 0808 800 4040.

If you are aged 70 or over and haven’t been for breast screening in the last three years you can book an appointment at the South West London Breast Screening Unit on 0808 800 4040. 

For more information visit: Be clear on cancer