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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 10-Feb-14 16:17:52

Are you clear on cancer?

Public Health England's new national campaign. Don't assume you're past it.

Be Clear on Cancer

Public Health England's national campaign

Posted on: Mon 10-Feb-14 16:17:52


Lead photo

Barbara Windsor and Miriam Margolyes

Did you know that one in three women diagnosed with breast cancer in England each year are aged 70 and over? Women this age also account for more than half of all breast cancer deaths.

These surprising facts came to our attention last week as Public Health England launched their new Be Clear on Cancer campaign, with their straight-talking tagline – don’t assume you’re past it.

As well as making sure we're all aware of the fact that a woman’s risk of
breast cancer increases with age, the campaign aims to educate us on non-lump symptoms such as changes in the shape or size of the breast.

Survival rates are lower in women over 70 compared to younger women so it's essential to know the symptoms and, if you spot any changes in your breasts, visit your doctor.

Survival rates are lower in women over 70 compared to younger women so it’s essential to know the symptoms and, if you spot any changes in your breasts, visit your doctor. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival.

Many famous faces over 70 have thrown their support behind the campaign including Gloria Hunniford (73), Cilla Black (70), Barbara Windsor (76) and Miriam Margolyes (72).

Actress Barbara Windsor says:

"I met a lot of women affected by breast cancer when I was preparing for Peggy Mitchell's diagnosis in Eastenders, which made me realise just how important an early diagnosis is.

“You get to a certain age and think you're too old for some things, but breast
cancer isn't one of them."

Do you know the warning signs of breast cancer? Do you know what to check for, and how often? Let us know your thoughts below, and for more information on breast cancer in women over 70 visit

By Be Clear on Cancer

Twitter: @BeClearonCancer

JessM Mon 10-Feb-14 16:31:24

Maybe you get to a certain age, they stop inviting you for screening so you think you are in the clear? Just possibly?

Elegran Mon 10-Feb-14 16:41:30

An age like 70.

Galen Mon 10-Feb-14 17:08:06

75 now

Ariadne Tue 11-Feb-14 09:21:26

It all boils down to money, I am sure. When I used to be a speaker for Cancer Research UK, I always made a point about just this, and there was often a sharp intake of breath. Yes, I do think that the message conveyed by not offering screening for women over seventy lulls many into a very, very false sense of security.

Glad to see some publicity about it!

JessM Tue 11-Feb-14 09:24:20

Bloody sight cheaper to have a little publicity campaign that extend screening maybe? Shall we put in an information request for the cost of the campaign?

Charleygirl Tue 11-Feb-14 09:28:50

Does one have to ask one's GP now if one is 70 and wants a screen?

whitewave Tue 11-Feb-14 09:39:16

I have just been to see my oncologist, hopefully for the final time after 10 years and he advised me that screening stops at 70 - 74'ish depending on your postcode but it is purely down to cash. However you are entitled to a screen every 3 years and said that I should mention this to my doctor when I reach 70 - I am 68 at present - so that she can put me on the 3 year list as usual but I will keep my eye on it. I will then carry on until I think Hopefully!!! I am too old.

Ariadne Tue 11-Feb-14 09:57:17

Agree, Jess!

JessM Tue 11-Feb-14 11:06:59

There is no too old. Thing about breast cancers are that most of them, these days, are curable. But much more so if you spot them while still in the breast.
10 year survival has climbed from about 40% in the 1970s to around 80% now
This graph shows that although the number of cases per age group declines after the menopause (because there are deaths from other causes and the number in the age group declines) the RATE in that age group only dips briefly and then carries on rising into the 80s and 90s age groups. So if you live into your 80s you are more likely to get breast cancer then than at any other age.

whitewave Tue 11-Feb-14 11:22:08

Well when I say too old - my Mum thinks she is too old for a screen and she is 95 so fair enough I say.

Maniac Tue 11-Feb-14 18:47:41

Just been to my surgery and was given a number of the local breast screening clinic to ring directly for an appointment.
had my last screening in my early 70s.My sister died of breast cancer in
1987 at age 52.
My friend had breast cancer at age 89.She died in Nov last age 92 (not from cancer!)

JessM Tue 11-Feb-14 19:13:48

Well when you are 95 you've earned the right to say "aaah - sod it" about almost anything I reckon

JessM Tue 11-Feb-14 19:29:54

Ok I have just sent in a freedom of info request to Public Health England asking for the cost of this campaign - my first. It was extremely easy and took about 10 minutes including time taken to track down the right email. Lets wait and see then shall we.
I will do some research into the costs of running screening, which is probably in the public domain already...

carpedeum Fri 21-Feb-14 20:52:32

I'm seventy four.finding it so difficult to have a routine breast scan. Really mad about this discrimination. Surgery were surprised I even requested one , they didn't know the format and I have to call back, fourth time, next week.

The other outrage is the shingles conditions, as laid down. I feel if they make it complicated enough, when our turn comes we will have gone to the great big yonder. It seems at seventy you fall off the edge of the world. Ageist and outrageous. We must not let these things pass by without boisterous and sustained campaigning. Come on girls....let us unite and make our voices heard

JessM Mon 24-Feb-14 16:55:34

In Wales they are offering shingles jab when you are 70 or 79 (not sure of the logic here) so if you miss the 70 slot you have to wait.

JessM Mon 24-Feb-14 16:58:36

Here is some information about what is supposed to be happening.
But the NHS is due to take a massive cut to its budget as part of osbornes austerity - so who knows what will be available in a few years time.

annodomini Mon 24-Feb-14 17:20:17

I was told at 70 that I could ring up every three years and fix a mammogram appointment. I was surprised when an appointment turned up when I was just about to turn 73. Apparently the rules had changed in this trust area. However, the strange rules for shingles vaccine: 70 or 79 seem to have applied all over the UK since my 70-year-old BiL in Scotland had a jab. My GP couldn't really explain it except that there wasn't enough vaccine to go round. However, it seems, from another post here, that there was enough to supply private patients. hmm