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Your spotlight on local services

Local GPs urge women aged 70 and over to be breast cancer aware


Local GPs are urging women in Waltham Forest aged 70 and over to be more aware of breast cancer and to talk to their GP if they notice anything unusual.

The latest phase of the NHS ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign aims to get more women with breast cancer diagnosed at an early stage by raising awareness of symptoms and encouraging people to attend breast cancer screening.

Women over 70 are less likely to attend screening because they no longer receive automatic appointments for screening. However older women are still entitled to screening every three years. This can be done through a GP or directly with the screening service.

About one-third of all breast cancers occur in women over the age of 70. Older women are also more likely to delay being screened because they may feel anxious about treatment or they dismiss the changes to their breast as a sign of aging.

However breast cancer found by screening are generally at an early stage. Very early breast cancers are usually easier to treat, may need less treatment, and are more likely to be cured.

Breast cancer screening uses a test called mammography which involves taking X-rays of the breasts. Screening can help to find breast cancers early, when they are too small to see or feel. These tiny breast cancers are usually easier to treat than larger ones.

Dr Anwar Khan, local Go and chair of NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“In the UK, more than 13,000 women aged 70 and over are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

“With the right support and an early diagnosis, treatment can be successful whatever your age. If you’re embarrassed or worried about speaking to your doctor, remember that GPs are there to help and that they see people in the same situation every day.

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