We take a detailed look at how breast cancer can affect older Women a
I’m now over 70, am I still at risk of getting breast cancer?
QI’ve always assumed you’re less likely to get breast cancer as you get older, but my daughter tells me I’m still at risk at the age of 75. Is this true?
Your daughter is right. In fact the older you are, the more likely you are to get breast cancer. While many women over 70 assume they are past the age when they can get it, one in three
My MUM Won’t go to the Doctor
QMy 72-year-old mum says the shape of one of her breasts has changed, but she won’t see the GP. Should she get it checked out?
aYes – any unusual or persistent change in either breast should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. She may be fearful of a cancer diagnosis, but reassure her that if it is cancer, finding it early will give her the best chance of being treated successfully.
Help her write down any other symptoms that may be bothering her, so she doesn’t forget to tell the GP, and encourage her to make that appointment. The sooner she does so, the better. women diagnosed with breast cancer are aged 70 or over. It’s very important to be aware of any changes to your breasts and to seek medical help if you notice anything unusual. Be aware also that finding a lump isn’t the only sign of breast cancer. Other possible signs you may not know about include dimpling or puckering on the skin of your breast, or nipple discharge. The important thing is to be breast aware – ensuring you’re familiar with your breasts, and what is normal for you, so that you’ll notice any changes more easily.
Will a healthy diet protect me?
QI’ve recently improved my diet, eating more healthily and reducing the amount of alcohol I drink. Will I now be less likely to get breast cancer?
aBecause there is still so much we don’t understand about breast cancer, there is no guaranteed way of preventing it, but some simple lifestyle changes are known to reduce your risk. This includes drinking alcohol sensibly to government guidelines, watching your weight and exercising – all good tips for a healthier life in general. Apart from being a woman, the biggest risk factor is your age – the risk of breast cancer increases as we get older. Staying breast aware will help you know how your breasts look and feel normally so you’ll find it easier to spot any changes.
I’M WORRIED about nipple Discharge
QRecently I’ve noticed a discharge leaking from one of my nipples. Should I see my doctor about it?
aYou should definitely see your doctor about any nipple discharge, as in some cases it may be a sign of breast cancer.
Other changes to the nipples could be significant too, such as a change in your nipple’s position, or you may notice a nipple becoming sunk into your breast. Any rash on or around the nipple should also be reported to your GP.
However, the discharge could be caused by other things, for example harmless growths inside your breast ducts, or an age-related issue that can result in a discoloured discharge from both breasts.
You should get any unusual or persistent changes to your breasts checked out, so make an appointment to see your GP to find out the cause of the discharge. If it is breast cancer, early detection makes the disease more treatable.
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