Women aged 70 and over in Wolverhampton are being urged to recognise some of the lesser known symptoms of breast cancer.

Public Health England has today (Monday 13 July) launched a "Be Clear on Cancer" campaign to raise awareness of the risk of breast cancer among women aged 70 and over - and the fact that nearly a third of women diagnosed with breast cancer report a symptom other than a lump.

Around 1,500 women aged 70 and over in the West Midlands are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, but despite older people being at an increased risk of breast cancer, they are more likely to delay going to their GP with symptoms.

The campaign reinforces the message 'don't assume you're past it', urging older women to visit their doctor straight away if they notice any unusual or persistent changes to their breasts such as a lump or other symptoms such as changes to a nipple, the skin or the shape of a breast.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Sadly around 600 women aged 70 and over die from breast cancer in the West Midlands every year.

"Early diagnosis of breast cancer is crucial and the good news is that this means treatment is more likely to be successful, so it's very important that women of all ages are aware of the symptoms of this terrible disease and speak to their GP immediately if they have any concerns."

Dr Lola Abudu, public health consultant with PHE West Midlands, said: "It's really important to check breasts regularly, no matter how old you are - and not just for lumps.

"Other potential signs include thickening in your breast or armpit, changes to the skin of your breast or in the shape and size of your breast, changes to nipples or discharge from nipples, pain in your breast, or any other unusual or persistent changes to your breasts. Anyone with any of these symptoms should go to see their GP.

"Checking your breasts regularly is not the only thing you can do; lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of cancer. Being overweight accounts for nearly one in 10 cases of breast cancer, so swapping to lower fat and lower sugar foods and drinks, and getting more exercise to maintain a healthy weight can significantly reduce your risk of getting breast cancer."

For more information on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer please visit Type=links;Linkid=6278;Title=Be Clear on Cancer;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Monday 13 July, 2015