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The signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Despite older women being at an increased risk of breast cancer, they are also more likely to delay going to their GP with breast cancer symptoms.

Early diagnosis of breast cancer is crucial and means treatment is more likely to be successful.

If breast cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage in women aged 70 and over, 93% will live for at least another 5 years. This figure drops to just 13% for those diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

Older people are more likely to delay going to the doctors with breast cancer Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

But, when asked to name symptoms of breast cancer, only half of women aged 70 and over could name a symptom that isn’t a lump.

Knowledge of other breast cancer symptoms is higher amongst those aged 40 to 69, with 73 per cent able to name at least one non-lump symptom.

Possible signs of breast cancer include:

  • a lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
  • changes to the skin of your breast
  • changes in the shape or size of your breast
  • nipple changes
  • nipple discharge
  • pain in your breast
  • any other unusual or persistent changes to your breasts

Free scans will be given by the NHS, you may not be sent reminder letters - but they are still available if you are concerned.

Campaign to alert older women to dangers of breast cancer

Low awareness of breast cancer is killing older women Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new campaign is underway to make older women more aware of the dangers of breast cancer. In the South West the disease kills around 680 women aged over 70 each year.

Public Health England says low awareness of non-lump breast cancer symptoms is putting people at risk. It says more than half of women aged 70 and over are unable to name any other symptoms apart from a lump.

The Be Clear on Cancer in South West campaign is reinforcing 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 a change to a nipple or to the skin or the shape of a breast.

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Yeovil women join thousands on Moonwalk

Thousands of people, including hundreds from the West, have taken part in one of the country's biggest charity walks.

Saturday night's moonwalk took place in London with walkers wearing the trademark brightly coloured bras. They raised £3.5 million to help tackle breast cancer.

Three women travelled from Yeovil in memory of friends and family....

Life after breast cancer surgery

A charity calendar has been made to show a mastectomy can be a positive experience.

Across the West Country one in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and those who find out they carry the breast cancer gene may choose drastic surgery to reduce their risk.

But as David Wood reports, one group of women has turned it into a life-affirming opportunity.

Revolutionary treatment for breast cancer sufferers

A new way of prescribing a cancer drug, which was tested in Cornwall, is now available to every NHS trust in the country.

Herceptin is described as a revolution in breast cancer treatment; an injection which dramatically reduces the time that patients have to spend in hospital. Experts in Cornwall are helping to pioneer this new way of administering the drug. Our health correspondent Jacquie Bird reports

Faster treatment for breast cancer patients

Herceptin can now be delivered by injection Credit: ITV News West Country

Some breast cancer patients in Cornwall could benefit from faster treatment from today. The drug Herceptin can now be given by a quick injection rather than a much longer intravenous drip. It follows trials among patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

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