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Breast Cancer  Support –

Breast cancer charity makes awareness call for over 70s

Not enough women over 70 are aware they can continue being checked for breast cancer, a health charity has said.

In the UK, women aged 50 to 70 are invited for a mammogram every three years – but they then must request one.

A survey has found more than half (51%) of women over 70 do not know they can continue having the scan after receiving their final invitation.

Breast Cancer Care said there is “confusion” about the current system and greater awareness is needed.

Addie Mitchell, a clinical nurse specialist at the charity, said: “It is crucial women know while routine invitations to screening stop at 70, this doesn’t mean you’re no longer at risk – as the biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being female and getting older.”

“So women must be armed with the information they need to make an informed choice about requesting screening appointments after the age of 70 if they wish to do so.”

Opera singer Margaret Williams was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and called it a “shock”.

She said: “When I reached the age of 70 I thought ‘I’m fairly safe now’.”

“If I had had a mammogram after the age of 70, probably the non invasive cancer that has been there for quite a long time, that would have been recognised.”

In England, some breast screening centres are taking part in an age extension trial.

The Welsh Government said its national screening programme was based on “the best possible evidence” and was reviewed regularly.

A spokeswoman added: “The results from the trial in England won’t be known for a few years.

“The UK National Screening Committee will consider these findings when they’ll be available and will advise all the screening programmes in the UK in line with that.”

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-43967321