Home / Health / Entrepreneur Pinky Lilani and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown urge Asian

Entrepreneur Pinky Lilani and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown urge Asian

35women over 70 to be aware of non-lump breast cancer symptomsOne in three women diagnosed with breast cancer each year are aged 70 and over

The Founder of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, Pinky Lilani and Journalist, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown are supporting Public Health England’s ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ breast

cancer campaign aimed at women aged 70 and over. The campaign which coincides with Cancer Equality’s Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness

Month aims to drive awareness of the risk of breast cancer amongst this age group and to increase their knowledge of lesser-known breast cancer symptoms which could include:

Changes to the skin of your breastChanges in the shape or size of your breast or nipple

Nipple discharge

Pain in your breast

Any unusual or persistent changes to your breasts Around 13,400 women aged 70 and over are diagnosed with breast cancer each year,  accounting for a third of all breast cancer cases.1 Approximately 30% of all women  diagnosed with breast cancer report a symptom other than a lump.2 However, research  shows that when asked to name symptoms of breast cancer, only half of women over 70  (48%) could name a symptom aside from a lump.3

Despite older women being at an increased risk of breast cancer, they are also more likely to  delay going to their GP with breast cancer symptoms4 and for older Asian women there are  often cultural, religious and language issues that can cause delay.

Pinky Lilani, CBE DL, Founder of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards says: “We know there are cultural taboos and embarrassment associated with the discussion and

education about breast cancer amongst older Asian women but the truth is as Asian women

we need to talk about the risk and symptoms of breast cancer more openly to increase our  understanding of the disease.

A lump isn’t the only symptom that is important to know about; other symptoms of breast  cancer could also include changes to your breast shape, size, skin or nipple.

I want to encourage Asian women over 70 to pay attention to their breasts. If you notice any  changes to your breasts make sure you tell your doctor straight away.”

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Journalist and Author says:

“Sadly everyone knows someone who has been touched by breast cancer and that’s why we  as Asian women cannot afford to ignore the statistic – one in three women who get breast

cancer are over 70. If you’re over 70 don’t assume you’re past it or dismiss any symptoms

as a sign of ageing and most importantly don’t be afraid to tell your doctor.

I’d like to appeal to younger Asian women to engage older female members of their families  in conversations about breast cancer to help detect the disease early so that more lives can  be saved.”

Dr Ann Hoskins, Public Health England Deputy Director, Health and Wellbeing says “This campaign aims to target women aged 70 and over, as we know that many women of

this age group are unaware of the risk breast cancer poses to them. They also tend to have

lower knowledge of the symptoms of breast cancer, and are not necessarily looking at or  feeling their breasts so are less likely to detect change.

“This campaign emphasises that a lump is not the only sign of breast cancer and women  should tell their GP if they notice any changes to their breasts. Other possible signs of breast  cancer include nipple changes and changes to the skin of the breast.”

The campaign first launched nationally in early 2014 and research shows that it successfully

raised awareness that the risk of breast cancer increases with age.5 Promising results show

a 25% increase in the number of breast cancers diagnosed in women aged 70 and over

following an urgent GP referral for suspected breast cancer during the campaign period

compared with the same period two years earlier.6 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in England, with around 41,200 women

diagnosed every year.7 National figures show that around 9,500 women die from breast  cancer each year and over half of these are women aged 70 and over (5,400).8 This equates

to around 15 women aged 70 and over dying from breast cancer in England every day.8

Debashis Ghosh, Consultant Breast & Oncoplastic Surgeon, Royal Free London NHS

Foundation Trust, says: “I’ve performed surgery on women over the age of 70 and always tell women that breast

cancer is more treatable if found early. If breast cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage in  women aged 70 and over, 93% will live for at least another five years. This figure drops to

just 13% for those diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

As a surgeon, I’m delighted to be supporting the Be Clear on Cancer campaign because the  earlier we can diagnose cancer, the more treatment options we can offer our patients.”  The nationwide Be Clear on Cancer ‘breast cancer in women over 70’ campaign launches

today Monday 13 July and will run for eight weeks. For more information on the signs and

symptoms of breast cancer please visit nhs.uk/breastcancer70.