Somerset CCG is supporting the Be Clear on Cancer ‘Breast Cancer’ campaign which runs from 13 July to 6 September 2015.
The key message promoted on TV will be: ‘1 in 3 women who get breast cancer are over 70, so don’t assume you’re past it’. A second message, promoted via other campaign materials, will be: ‘A lump isn’t the only sign of breast cancer’ and that women over 70 should tell their doctor if they notice any changes to their breasts.
Around 41,200 women in England are diagnosed with breast cancer each year – of which around 13,400 (a third) are aged 70 and over.
In England, approximately 5,400 women aged 70 and over die from breast cancer each year. This equates to around 15 women per day.
If breast cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage in women aged 70 and over, 93% will survive for at least five years. This figure is just 13% at the most advanced stage of the disease (stage IV).
What are the symptoms to look out for?
Changes that could be due to a breast cancer are:
A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
Changes to the skin of your breast
Changes in the shape or size of your breast
Pain in your breast
Any other unusual or persistent changes to your breasts
When to see your GP
If you have any of these symptoms or notice any changes in your breasts, it’s 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 doctor’s surgery could save your life. And if a friend or relative says they have any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor.
How to help yourself
You can reduce your personal risk of developing cancer by these lifestyle choices:
It's never too late to stop smoking. No matter what age you stop, it reduces your chances of developing cancer and makes a real difference to your health in general. There's plenty of support and help available from the NHS. Visit smokefree.nhs.uk or call 0800 169 0169.
Keep your weight in check
If you are overweight you can lose weight by combining regular exercise and a calorie-controlled diet.
Cut down on alcohol
Cancer has been linked to a heavy intake of alcohol. The more you cut down, the more you reduce your risk.
Swimming, cycling, dancing - the more you can do, the better. Even walking to your local shops instead of taking the car can make a difference.
Try to get your 5-a-day. So eat more vegetables, fruit, fish and wholegrain foods and drink plenty of water. Eat less fatty foods like cakes and pastries, less red meats and fewer processed meats like bacon and ham.
Women over 70 are not routinely invited for breast cancer screening, but you can ask for a free screening every three years if you wish by making your own appointment.
Find out more - download these leaflets
Breast cancer - leaflet (PDF, 607kb)
Breast cancer - large print leaflet (PDF, 307kb)
For further information about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, please visit: nhs.uk/breastcancer70
Cancer Research UK
Breast Cancer Research Campaign
Breast Cancer Care - the breast cancer support charity
Wear It Pink