A CAMPAIGN to encourage women in Gloucestershire aged 70 and older to visit their doctor if they are concerned they are at risk of breast cancer has been launched.

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign is part of a national effort by the Department for Health backed by more than £450m funding to save an extra 5,000 lives a year from the disease.

Around 60 women in Gloucestershire aged 70 or older die of breast cancer every year, with 170 diagnosed with the disease on an annual basis.

Symptoms can include lumps as well as changes to skin or nipples or the shape of breasts.

Although women in their 70s and older are at the greatest risk of breast cancer, a recent survey found almost one in three in the South West believed all age groups were equally likely to develop the disease.

A further third of women thought they were most at risk in their 50s while one in six believed they were most likely to develop the disease in their 40s.

National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative Lead for Gloucestershire Dr Sadaf Haque said a third of breast cancer sufferers are 70 or older and identifying the disease early increases the possibility it will be successfully treated.

“Women over 70 should be aware that any changes to their breasts could be a sign of breast cancer and it’s important to see the doctor straight away,” he said.

“You’re not wasting your doctor’s time – they will want to hear from you and it’s much better to be sure, if only to put your mind at rest.”

For more information on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer visit nhs.uk/breastcancer70