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Breast cancer cases in women over 70 rise

Plea for older women to remain vigilant as breast cancer cases in women over 70 rise

The number of older women diagnosed with breast cancer has hit a record high and the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) is urging those over 70 to be vigilant about breast health.

Nearly a quarter of all breast cancer cases in New Zealand are in women aged 70 and over, but BCAC is concerned that older women think they are ‘beyond’ getting breast cancer.

A focus on breast health for older women is the theme for this year’s fundraiser for the breast cancer charity called Show Your Heart for Women Living with Breast Cancer.

The campaign is supported by Arnott’s Tim Tam, with 20 cents from every pack of Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits sold in Countdown supermarkets between May 12 and June 8 going to BCAC.

Renowned New Zealand artist Penny Stotter is also backing the campaign with a beautiful limited edition design of a stylised heart on a ceramic plate which will be gifted to a handful of lucky winners.

BCAC chair, Libby Burgess, says more than 700 women over the age of 70 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand this year and BCAC wants older women to take time to practice ‘breast awareness’.

“The number of older women diagnosed with breast cancer is only going to grow as our population ages. We value our older women and we want them to take care of themselves. That’s why we’re asking those over 70 to remain vigilant about breast health because you’re never too old to get breast cancer.”

Ms Burgess says international research has shown that many older women:
· don’t know that getting older is a risk factor in getting breast cancer
· are less likely to get breast changes checked
· are unaware of the symptoms of breast cancer other than a lump.

She says it is vital for older women to monitor their breasts not just for lumps, but for other signs such as a rash or dimpling of the skin, pain in the breast and nipple changes and to seek medical attention as early as possible.

The funds raised in this year’s Show Your Heart campaign will help to pay for BCAC’s Step by Step support and information pack which is distributed free-of-charge to the thousands of Kiwi women diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

The support pack has recently been updated and now includes specific information on dealing with the emotional fallout of a breast cancer diagnosis, fertility issues for younger women and a new section on looking after yourself after treatment for breast cancer.

Arnott’s Tim Tam have been strong supporters of BCAC and Step by Step since 2008 and in doing so have played a key role in helping New Zealanders with breast cancer understand the disease and make more informed decisions about treatment.

To support BCAC’s work in helping New Zealand women with breast cancer, be sure to purchase Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits from Countdown supermarkets between May 12 and June 8 and 20 cents from your purchase will go to the Coalition.

For an opportunity to win Penny Stotter’s beautiful ceramic plate and a year’s supply of Tim Tam biscuits, visit BCAC’s website, BCAC’s Facebook page, or the Tim Tam Facebook page .


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