If you've noticed changes to your breasts and you're over 70, tell your doctor. You're not wasting anyone's time by getting yourself checked out. Call your GP today.
Some symptoms may be caused by other conditions, such as a cyst or abscess, which may still need treatment. But don't try to diagnose yourself. Go and see your doctor now to find out for sure.
Unusual changes to your breasts can be a sign of breast cancer, which is why it's so important to see your doctor straight away. Early detection makes it easier to treat. Seeing your doctor could save your life.
I would urge other women to be aware of changes to their breasts. If you notice something out of the ordinary, visit your doctor straight away.
Margaret Underwood, aged 79
It's important to get to know how your breasts look and feel normally so you'll find it easier to spot something unusual. If you notice a change, tell your doctor.
Possible signs of breast cancer include:
If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP as soon as possible. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor.
I was 77 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was after I found a lump on my right breast. Soon after finding the lump, I had surgery to remove the tumour, which was followed by a breast reconstruction and then radiotherapy. The cancer has now gone, and I am fit and well.
I want to urge women to be breast aware so that they know how their breasts look and feel normally, and to make sure they go and see their doctor if they notice any unusual changes. I did, and it saved my life. I am forever grateful for the excellent care and treatment I received.
I noticed a lump on my breast one evening and went straight to my doctor the next morning. I was sent for tests, which found that the lump was cancerous, and I had surgery three weeks later. I was lucky enough to have caught it early and the surgery was successful. The cancer has gone and I am living a healthy life.
I've learnt that it is so important to be breast aware, knowing what is normal for you, and to tell your doctor if you notice anything unusual. I'm living proof that finding breast cancer early makes it much more treatable.
I had breast cancer and, in my mind, cancer was a terrifying prospect, but I've come out the other end and am a survivor.
Cancer isn't really talked about in my community, so once my treatment had finished I started a cancer support group for south Asians.
My experiences have taught me that it is so important to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer. The sooner you visit your doctor, the better. It could save your life.
I was due to go on holiday when I noticed a small lump on my breast. I hadn't noticed any other symptoms so put it to the back of my mind. But while I was on holiday I started to get anxious about it and decided to go to the doctor once I was back.
My doctor referred me to the hospital for tests and soon afterwards I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My family were all very supportive and thankfully now I have fully recovered. Don't delay seeing your doctor if you notice changes to your breasts. If it is breast cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better.
Supporter of Breast Cancer Now
I was in my 70s when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a shock as I was fit and healthy, but it just goes to show it could happen to anyone, so you must make sure you go to your doctor if you notice any changes to your breasts, no matter how old you are!
I am so grateful I was diagnosed early as finding breast cancer early makes it more treatable. I'm now 81 and living life to the full.
Supporter of Breast Cancer Care
Like many women over 70, I don't tend to look at my breasts very often. But when I spotted some changes to my breast in April 2012, I knew I needed to act quickly. One of my nipples and the skin underneath had changed, so I made an appointment to see my doctor straight away. I was sent for tests and diagnosed with breast cancer.
Although I suspected cancer, it was still a shock to hear – I didn't realise that the older you are, the more likely you are to get it. Thanks to treatment, my tumour was successfully removed. I'm so glad I acted quickly. I would urge other women to be aware of changes to their breasts. If you notice something out of the ordinary, visit your doctor straight away.
Supporter of Breast Cancer Now
Some women may think that once they're in their 70s they're too old to get breast cancer, or that there isn't any point in going to the doctor if they notice changes to their breasts. But that is absolutely not the case. I had breast cancer last year when I was 73. It was found early, I had surgery and now I'm healthy and well.
I cannot stress enough the importance of being breast aware and visiting the doctor as soon as possible if you notice anything unusual. I did and it saved my life.
You're not wasting anyone's time by getting your symptoms checked out. It's much better to be sure – your mind will be put at rest if it's not serious.
At your appointment, your GP may ask about your symptoms and family history, and carry out a physical examination of your breasts.
You may also be referred to a hospital to see a specialist if further examinations and tests are needed.
Find out what to expect when you see your doctor – watch the video.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England, with around 44,300 women diagnosed each year. The older you are, the more likely you are to get it – one in three women who get breast cancer are aged 70 or over.
If breast cancer is detected early, it is more treatable. Finding it early could save your life.
Breast screening uses X-rays to look at the breasts (mammography). Women between the ages of 50 and 70 are currently invited for free screening every three years. Screening can detect breast cancer at an earlier stage. In some parts of England, some women aged 47-49 and 71-73 are being invited for screening as part of a major research trial.
If you're over 70, you can ask for a free screening every three years. Just get in touch with your local breast screening unit to make an appointment (find your local unit on the NHS website at nhs.uk/breastscreening).
Whatever your age, and even if you attend screening, it's important to remain breast aware. If you find anything unusual or notice a possible symptom, don't wait for your screening appointment – see your doctor right away to be on the safe side.
Some women aged between 70 and 79 who did not receive an invitation for a final screening are being offered one now.
A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of breast cancer:
For more information on how to reduce your risk of cancer, visit nhs.uk/reduce-your-risk.