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Campaign Urges Women Over 70 to Be Clear on Cancer

Campaign Urges Women Over 70 to Be Clear on Cancer
13 July 2015

Barnsley Council and Barnsley Clinical Commissioning group are urging women aged 70 or over to be aware of breast cancer symptoms.

The message comes as part of the national ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign and highlights the risk of breast cancer amongst this age group and aims to increase knowledge of the lesser-known breast cancer symptoms.

Nationally, approximately 30% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer report a symptom other than a lump. However, research shows that when asked to name symptoms of breast cancer, only half of women over 70 (48%) could name a symptom aside from a lump. 

This year’s campaign urges older women to visit their doctor straight away if they notice any unusual or persistent changes to their breasts such as a lump or a change to a nipple or to the skin or the shape of a breast.

Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “In 2013, 65 women aged 70 and over from Barnsley were diagnosed with breast cancer with an 87.6 per cent survival rate. 

“Spotting the signs of breast cancer is crucial as early diagnosis means treatment is more likely to be successful.”

Dr Nick Balac, GP and Chair of Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “‘Sadly, we still regularly see older women who have delayed going to their doctor with breast symptoms, either because they didn't think the symptoms might be serious, or because they didn't want to waste their families or doctors time with their concerns. Often these women are carers for husbands or other relatives, and they put their own health concerns to one side. The message we want to get across to older women is: don't assume you're too old to get breast cancer or too old for treatment. The earlier we can diagnose it, the more successful treatment is likely to be, even in the very elderly.  Remember that a lump isn't the only sign of breast cancer and if you have noticed any persistent changes to your breast, then please get checked out by your GP.”

People can find out more information by speaking to their doctor or by visiting http://www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer/