With Breast Surgeon Dr Mary Ling
Dame Maggie Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 73 and Blanche D’Alpuget, wife of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, at age 76. Older women may assume they are ‘past’ breast cancer because they are no longer invited for breast screening – but breast cancer is still the most common cancer in older women.
Here are 3 things older women should know about breast cancer.
1 A LUMP IS NOT THE ONLY SIGN
1 in 6 women with breast cancer present with symptoms other than a lump. Older women are less aware of the non-lump warning signs of breast cancer, which can lead to delay in seeking help. Non-lump signs include nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing, a ‘sunken’ nipple and dimpling or ‘orange-peel’ appearance of breast skin.
2 SCREENING AFTER 75? YOUR CHOICE
There is no hard-and-fast rule for breast screening after the age of 75. Women in good health may wish to continue with biennial screening mammograms or be monitored through clinical or self-breast examinations. Whereas, women with serious health issues may decide screening is not a priority, as it may pick up cancers that might never cause symptoms. Discuss with your doctor about a personalised screening plan based on your current health.
3 WATCH THE MENOPAUSE WEIGHT GAIN
Obesity is an established risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer. Research shows a 39% increase in the risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in obese compared with normal weight women. Why? Postmenopausal women derive active oestrogen from fat tissue, with obese women having higher levels of oestrogen. However, it is not all bad news, as a modest 5% weight loss can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Dr Mary Ling Breast & General Surgeon
Rapid Access Appointments within 48 hours for patients with new diagnosis of breast cancer
Suite 6/16 Hills Street, Gosford Phone: 4321 0302
Gosford Private Hospital, Brisbane Waters Private Hospital, Tuggerah Lakes Private Hospital