Public Health England (PHE) has this week launched a campaign to remind women over 70 that they’re not ‘past it’ when they hit this age. Be Clear on Cancer, which will run for eight weeks until 6 September, encourages older women to stay ‘breast aware’ and look out for signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
The campaign’s launch comes after a recent survey by PHE found that fewer than half of women over 70 could name a ‘non-lump’ symptom of the disease and that older women were more likely to put off visiting their GP with concerns about breast health.
Many women now live well into their 90s, so early detection of breast cancer in their 70s can help make sure that their latter years are spent in good health. Reporting symptoms early and attending for mammogram screening remain important as they get older and it is vital that women remain vigilant about their health.
A lump in the breast is often viewed as synonymous with cancer, but other symptoms include nipple inversion, puckering or dimpling and nipple discharge. Women – and men – should be fully aware of these lesser known signs of the disease.
While some groups warn about over-diagnosis of breast cancer through screening in the over 70s, it’s important to remember that breast cancer in this age group – when caught early – may not require drastic or invasive treatments such as chemotherapy or mastectomy surgery. At Genesis, we focus on educating women about prediction, prevention and early diagnosis of breast cancer so that they can live full, healthy lives, and the over 70s should never be excluded from this.