Breast cancer warning to over-75s
A QUARTER of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the Bristol area are over the age of 75, it has been revealed.
Women over the age of 70 may not believe they are so at risk of the disease because they are no longer called for routine breast-screening.
But the NHS locally is now running an awareness campaign to ensure women check their breasts and seek medical advice as early as possible.
More than 90 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive for at least five years but for those whose cancer is discovered at the most advanced stage just 15 per cent live that long.
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Research has shown that older women do not tend to present early enough with breast cancer, consultant in public health in the Avon Somerset and Wiltshire Cancer Network Elizabeth Lee said.
"It seems that women seem to think they are less at risk because they are no longer invited routinely for screening," she said.
"They might put things down to old age and might not pay as much heed or attention and go to the doctor. Women should go to the doctor as soon as possible if they have symptoms."
She also said that women over the age of 70 can request screening.
A third of women who get breast cancer are over 70.
Retired nurse Barbara Graham is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for the disease having been diagnosed in September.
The 70-year-old from Brentry had already been successfully treated for breast cancer in 1999 and malignant melanoma. It was shortly after being successfully treated for her second cancer that she became concerned about pain in her breast and a small lump.
"This breast cancer was totally different to what I had before. I was in dreadful pain and then thought that I hadn't had a mammogram for two years and just rang the screening people and explained my history and they said to come down."
After a couple of screenings and a biopsy she was diagnosed with cancer and is now having chemotherapy and taking the drug Herceptin.
"It was very aggressive, they found when I had surgery," she said.
"I'm OK, just a little tired – but that's what happens with chemo and it's going to save your life, which is very important.
"But I'm on the right path now.
"Having had my 70th birthday I was really worried as I knew they would not call me for screening, so I called them. It was so easy and they were so kind and understanding.
"Ladies don't have to worry because it is so easy to get these things done. I just rang them. I didn't even need to go to my doctor."