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Breast cancer affects over 70s too - don’t assume you’re past it

This month we’re joining colleagues across England in highlighting breast cancer awareness for women aged over 70. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England with around 41,500 diagnoses each year. Around a third of those cases are for women aged 70 or older. No matter your age, be vigilant in checking for signs and never assume you’re past it.

In England, every year around 5,400 women aged 70 or older die from breast cancer. This month we’re reminding all women, and particularly those aged over 70, that there are more ways to spot breast cancer than simply checking for a lump. Early diagnosis will mean starting treatment sooner and more chance of survival. Be aware of all the tell-tale signs of breast cancer and speak with your GP if you notice any changes.

Dr Arun Gupta, local GP, and clinical director at Lewisham CCG, said: “Most women now know if they find a lump in their breast, it’s important they tell their GP, and there are other signs to look out for too. If you notice change in size or shape of either breast, nipple discharge, a lump or swelling in either of your armpits, or dimpling on the skin of your breasts, please talk to your GP about it right away.”

Dr Gupta added, “Be aware of all the signs of breast cancer and check yourself regularly. Symptoms can appear at any age. You could be ignoring an early breast cancer warning sign – so pay attention and if you identify a symptom act on it.”

You can find a full list of symptoms on the NHS choices website

Are you a woman aged over 70? Have you had a breast screen recently?

You can have an NHS breast screening every three years, and you should receive a letter giving you more information on how to book. Talk to your GP if you are overdue.

Breast cancer screening works. In England the NHS Breast Screening Programme saves around 1400 lives every year. If you are between 50 and 70 you will be invited to screening so wait to be contacted and speak to your GP if you are concerned.

You can find out more information about NHS breast screening on the NHS Cancer Screening Programme website

For more information about breast screening in Lewisham visit the South East London Breast Cancer Screening Service website. There are different locations where you can be screened and a range of appointment dates and times. There is a full list available on the website.