Virginia Wade Says ‘ Be Clear on Breast Cancer’
You’ve probably heard about Be Clear on Cancer, a campaign by Public Health England aiming to raise awareness of breast cancer in older women. The campaign has already highlighted just how many older women believe they are not at risk of the disease. Now new survey results, which have been released as part of the campaign, reveal the things women are glad to leave behind or do less often as they get older.
The findings have been shared to highlight that while there are many things women over the age of 70 can happily leave behind, the risk of breast cancer isn’t one of them. The release celebrates all that is positive about ageing, but also warns older women to look out for the signs of breast cancer so that those happy times won’t be cut short.
The survey showed that the top activities women over 70 are most happy to have left behind are:
- Commuting most days (83%)
- Staying out late (75%)
- Changing nappies (74%)
- Planning holidays around school time (71%)
- Keeping up with the latest fashions (70%)
- Wearing make-up every day (69%)
- Going on dates (66%)
- Wearing high heels (60%)
- Going on a diet (60%)
- Travelling to other countries (50%)
“To me, age is just a number and as I get older I’m still doing the things I love,” says British former professional tennis player Virginia Wade, who recently turned 70. “There’s nothing I enjoy more than touring the world and presenting tennis tournaments, but there are certainly a few things I’m delighted to leave behind. I’m certainly happy to say goodbye to worrying about the rain preventing me from practising on the tennis court. I’m also happy not to have to worry about getting wrinkles. I’ve already got them!
“But one of the things I know that remains is the risk of breast cancer, particularly now I’m over 70. One in three women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 70 and you’re never too old to be at risk. There is so much to enjoy and look forward to as you get older, but don’t assume you’re past breast cancer. Make sure you visit your doctor if you notice any changes to your breasts.”
Leading media medic Dr Dawn Harper says: “Understandably, when younger women are diagnosed with breast cancer it makes the headlines, but this can result in a misconception that it is a younger woman’s disease. Breast cancer affects women of all ages, but it’s the number of those over 70 being diagnosed and the fact that older women with symptoms are more likely to delay visiting their GP which is particularly worrying. It is extremely important to seek medical advice if you have any concerns about unusual changes to your breasts, and encourage others to do so.”
If breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated before it spreads to other parts of the body, so it’s essential that you’re aware of the early signs, no matter what your age. Go to http://www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer/breast-cancer/home to find out more about breast cancer, how to reduce your risk of it and how to spot the symptoms.