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Older women missing cancer signs

Many older women in the UK do not know what signs to look out for when checking for breast cancer, thinking a lump is the only indicator, research has shown.

A study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found that more than half do not know nipple rash, skin redness or a change in breast size can be a sign of the disease.

The study sent questionnaires to 712 UK women aged 67-73, asking what they knew about breast cancer symptoms, the chances they may develop the disease and whether they felt confident examining their own breasts.

The results, presented at the National Cancer Research Institute's annual conference in Birmingham, showed that while 85% knew a lump was a sign of breast cancer, "knowledge of nonlump symptoms was limited" and "knowledge of risk was poor".

Half the women thought the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer was one in 100 instead of one in nine.

And three out of four (75%) did not know that getting older was a major risk factor for developing breast cancer.

Eight out of 10 of all breast cancer cases are among women over the age of 50 while 30% of all cases are among women over the age of 70.

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British Journal of Cancer

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