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Half of women over 70 unaware of breast cancer symptoms

A nationwide campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the increased risk of breast cancer for women over 70, and the lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer.

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

However, research for the Public Health England campaign Be Clear on Cancer showed that when asked to name symptoms of breast cancer, only half of women over 70 (48%) could name a symptom aside from a lump.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: "You are never too old to get breast cancer. It is not always a lump… Spotting the signs of cancer early is very important so if women are concerned about any breast cancer symptoms they should contact their GP straight away.”

The symptoms include a lump or thickening in your breast or armpit, and changes to the skin of the breast; it's shape or size, or the nipple. Other symptoms are breast pain, nipple discharge, or any other pertinent changes to the breasts.

Around 13,400 women aged 70 and over are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, accounting for a third of all breast cancer cases.

Find out more about the campaign here