CCG chair Dr Zuhair Zarifa urges women over 70 to to be breast aware

PUBLISHED: 09:12 08 July 2015


Many of my female patients live such busy lives that sometimes they forget to look after themselves. I would like you to give yourself the gift of health and take the time to get checked for breast cancer.

This month the NHS is encouraging women to ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ and attend breast cancer screening. Women over 70 years of age are being targeted as about one-third of all breast cancers occur in women in this age group.

Women over 70 years old are less likely to attend screening because they no longer receive automatic appointments. They are also more likely to delay being screened because they may feel anxious about treatment or they dismiss the changes to their breast as a sign of aging. Breast cancer found by screening is generally at an early stage. Very early breast cancers are usually easier to treat, may need less treatment, and are more likely to be cured. However, older women should still attend screening every three years.

Breast cancer screening uses a test called mammography which involves taking X-rays of the breasts. Screening can help to find breast cancers early, when they are too small to see or feel. These tiny breast cancers are usually easier to treat than larger ones.

Newham’s breast screening service is now based at the brand new health centre the in Stratford. All the staff working in the centre are women. When you arrive you will be greeted by either the receptionist or the woman who will take X-rays of your breasts. You will have time and privacy to arrange yourself so you are comfortable for the X-ray. The whole screening from the time you arrive to when you leave should only take 20 minutes.

In the UK, more than 13,000 women aged 70 and over are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. With the right support and an early diagnosis, treatment can be successful whatever your age. If you’re embarrassed or worried about speaking to your doctor, remember that GPs are there to help and that they see people in the same situation every day.

If you are over 70 years old and you would like to be screened for breast cancer please call 020 3465 6631 to make your appointment. Women between 50-70 years old, who are registered with a GP, will receive an invitation to attend screening every three years. More from Dr Zarifa

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