Be Clear on Cancer Campaign – 22 February to 31 March 2018

In February 2018, Public Health England will be launching a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer in women aged 70 and over.

What is Be Clear on Cancer?

Be Clear on Cancer aims to help improve early diagnosis of cancer by raising awareness of symptoms and encouraging people to see their GP without delay.

The key message promoted on TV will be: ‘1 in 3 women who get breast cancer are over 70, so don’t assume you’re past it.’ The advert also reinforces the message that finding it early makes it more treatable.

A second message, promoted via other campaign materials, will be: ‘A lump isn’t the only sign of breast cancer’ and that women over 70 should tell their doctor if they notice any changes to their breasts.

You can get breast cancer at any age but the older you are the more likely you are to get it. 1 in 3 women who get breast cancer are over 70 so older women need to know what their breasts normally look and feel like so they can spot any changes.
If breast cancer is found early it is more treatable.

How to spot breast cancer
You need to get to know how your breasts normally look and feel. This will help you
notice if anything has changed. You need to get to know the whole of your breasts.
Feel the whole of both of your breasts and your armpits to see if anything feels different. Look at your breasts in the mirror to see if anything looks different.

There are different signs of breast cancer you need to look out for.
The main ones are:

  • A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
  • Any changes to the skin of any part of your breast
  • Any changes in the shape or size of your breast
  • Any changes to your nipples like liquid leaking out
  • Any pain in your breast or armpit
  • Any other changes you notice

If anything looks or feels different then you must go and see your doctor straight  away. If you notice any changes in your breasts it may not be serious, but it is always best to get it checked out by your doctor. Remember if breast cancer is found early
it is more treatable.

You are not wasting anyone’s time by going to the doctor and your mind may be put at rest. If you have family or friends who have noticed changes to their breasts, make sure they see their doctor.

How seeing your doctor early could save your life
Margaret spotted some changes to her breasts. She noticed that one of her nipples and the skin underneath had changed. She told her doctor straight away. She had some tests and they found she had cancer. She had treatment to get rid of the cancer and it worked.
Margaret said, “I’m so glad I acted quickly. If you notice something out of the ordinary, visit your doctor straight away.”

What is screening?
Women aged 50 to 70 are invited to have a test every 3 years to look for breast
cancer. This is called screening and is an x-ray of the breasts. If you are over 70 you can ask for screening every 3 years. You can do this by speaking to your local breast screening unit.

You can find out more about breast screening and your nearest unit by using the web links at the end of this article. Even if you have been for screening you should still look out for any changes to your breasts. Remember if you notice any change then see your doctor straight away.

Try and stay a healthy weight and keep fit. The more active you are, the better. Try:

  • swimming
  • exercise classes
  • dancing
  • yoga

And try not to drink too much alcohol.

How can I find out more about breast cancer?
If you want to find out more about breast cancer you can go to the website: www.nhs.uk/breastcancer70 or talk privately to an information nurse on: 0808 800 4040.

You can download this leaflet here. You can also download this leaflet in different formats from the website. Or if you want to order copies of this leaflet in different formats, email: enquiries@phe.gov.uk

How can I find out more about breast cancer screening?
You can find your breast screening unit at: www.nhs.uk/breastscreening
You can find out more to help you choose whether you want breast screening at: www.nhs.uk/breast-screening-programme

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